Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unisol 4 being discontinued

Alert for PROSE & scleral lens users who use Unisol 4 to fill their lenses:

I had been getting reports from customers that Unisol 4 is getting scarce or has been discontinued. I called Alcon today to get the skinny. They said yes, it is being discontinued, officially as of December this year and at this time they have no plans for a replacement.

Obviously it's already disappearing from shelves. Those who use it... it's definitely time to stock up unless you have an acceptable alternative that you already know of.

I have a couple of alternatives in the DryEyeShop - Addipaks (5mL), and Modudose (5mL and 15mL) which I sell in small quantities for people to try. If you need a Unisol replacement though be sure to check with your eye doctor first.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I just want to add this input on Purilens as a substitute for Unisol 4.

I have extreme, surgeon-induced dry eye bilaterally, and the only thing that helps significantly is saline. All the goop added to "artificial tears" just quickly drys out on my eyelid margins and acts like sandpaper (Surgeon killed the lubricating meibomian glands too).

(This surgeon was supposed to be doing a medically-necessary brow lift by incision above the brow. Instead he cut off my eyelids & shortened them (CONTRAINDICATED PROCEDURE IN CASES LIKE MINE), a procedure that netted him 3x the fee from my insurance, and destroyed the health of my eyes, and my appearance, and my sanity and trust.)

I successfully (with trepidation) used Unisol 4 for 16+ years for the terrible dry eye problem (not exactly "on label" use, but hey IT WORKED!). What a shock it is to have it gone. I was at first worried about long term effect of plasticizers in the Unisol plastic containers, but apparently Alcon had that under control.

The situation is such that sometimes I have to put a drop in each eye every few minutes (and always drench them when waking up from even brief sleep, eyes stuck to lids). No fun trying to drive, etc. (or live, essentially).

I was "manic" about being clean and careful, and had only perhaps 2 instances in that whole time where I suffered a bit from a bottle I evidently accidentally contaminated. ALWAYS, the clue as to this type of thing is when you have eye irritation (and even redness and vision) problems that are worsening, and using MORE saline doesn't help. No matter what you may be using, immediately try a new package, or a substitute if you have this "symptom".

So last summer I began using Purilens the way I did Unisol.

I was grateful for a while for what seemed an acceptable substitute. I was impressed with the packaging, and the price (for cases of 12 bottles) was only a little bit more than the Unisol 4 at Walmart.

Now I am not so sure. Over the last several months, now halfway through my second 12-bottle case of the product, my eyes have gotten more and more irritated, and (I think tellingly) it became apparent that pouring more saline on them did not help one bit (as it always had in the past: in the worst of times, drenching with Unisol always helped). Bad sign.

Three days ago I broke out one of five cherished bottles of Unisol 4 I had saved, and now slowly I seem to be doing better (last 3 days, but slower recovery than previous instances; fingers crossed).

This is all somewhat subjective, of course. Eyes get older. Problems get worse. This is an "off label" use of both products. So I'm not making any definitive statements here. However, I do want to alert the "dry eye community" to exercise caution if you are used to what was evidently the very high quality of Unisol 4, and I wanted to share my experience about a red flag being raised if, in the past, you have always gotten more relief with more saline, and suddenly (or over time) that no longer holds true.

I love what Alcon did making Unisol 4. I HATE what they did last year.

I've got some Teleflex Addipak 15ml ampoules on order to try. I'm doing the big search bit again. Strongly prefer the 4 oz. bottles, in part because the bigger container means more saline touching less plastic, etc.

Sigh!! Best to all. And THANKS to the blog owner for making it so easy to post & contribute!

Rebecca said...

Hey Anonymous - I hope you see this. I want to ask how long you are keeping your bottles open? They're labeled for 2 weeks. While that's really all about contamination, it's also true that the pH will change over time after the bottle is open... I use Purilens for scleral lenses and I can always tell the difference if I keep the bottle open too long.

However, based on your post, I would say that you could actually be hurting yourself if you overuse saline directly in the eye. You'll basically wash any actual tears out of your eyes and leave them feeling leached. There's a reason why this product is not labeled as an eyedrop. It's not viscous enough.