There have been several scattered threads about the disappearance of Genteal Gel (referred to by some patients as Genteal "Severe") from many drugstores in the US. For ease of reference I'm going to summarise here what is known about this and make some recommendations for alternative products and treatments to consider. No matter what products you use at night, it's also worth re-assessing whether your nighttime eye protection techniques are as good as they can be.
WHY CAN'T I FIND GENTEAL GEL? HAS IT BEEN DISCONTINUED?
We have been receiving scattered reports from patients across the US for several months that they cannot find Genteal Gel locally. Some regions or stores seem to still have some in stock, however.
We have asked the manufacturer, Novartis Ophthalmics, for information at regular intervals over the past months and they have consistently stated they do not intend to discontinue the product and that it is "on back order". As of a couple of days ago, they are estimating it may be back in production by the end of the summer.
UPDATE 1 JULY: Heard yesterday that they are now saying October. Objectively, despite the official position taken by the manufacturer users ought to be prepared for the possibility that this product may not come back (or may come back in a modified form).
IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET GENTEAL GEL?
Unless some enterprising individual or company starts buying it up from the few remaining available sources and selling it on EBay most US customers are probably going to just have to wait and see what happens with the production issue.
Some members are attempting to order it from Australia. Please see this thread for details. Whether this will work, we do not know and haven't investigated ourselves but it may be worth looking into.
Some members have indicated they can get it locally and may be willing to help out others by buying it and shipping it to them, so those who need help may be able to connect with someone willing to do this.
PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS with internet ads for sources for Genteal Gel. Make sure you confirm that it really is Genteal Gel, or that if it's something else you know what it is and what's in it, particularly if you are sensitive to preservatives or any other ingredients in eye gels.
WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD OF GENTEAL GEL?
Your doctor should be your primary source for suggestions. I'm going to mention a few for you to consider.
Dwelle Lubricant Eye Drops by The Dry Eye Company
This is Cindy's and my personal preference. It is a medium weight clear eyedrop which is popular for nighttime protection. It contains a patented, completely non irritating preservative. COST: Free samples are available at www.dryeyezone.com/shop (you pay shipping/handling of $4.75). 15mL bottles are $10.00.
TheraTears Liquid Gel Lubricant Eye Gel by Advanced Vision Research
This is a thicker version of TheraTears lubricant eye drops, popular with many patients for either day or nighttime use. It comes in unpreserved unit doses. COST: $11.99 for 28 individual vials on www.drugstore.com. Your eye doctor may have free samples. There is a $1 off coupon on the ThearTears website.
Tears Again Night & Day Gel by Ocusoft
This is a gel product which comes in a tube and is probably the most similar product available - in terms of viscosity and "feel" - to Genteal Gel. It comes in a tube and is preserved with Dissipate. COST: $9.95 per tube on Ocusoft's online patient catalog, and there is a $1 off coupon available on allaboutvision.com.
REMEMBER: Even though these are over-the-counter products, always consult your doctor about their suitability for you.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY EYES AT NIGHT?
Nighttime eye protection is a very real need, particularly for those who have issues with eyelids not closing all the way at night (for example, patients with thyroid disease, eyelid damage or disease, and some LASIK patients). Relying exclusively on eye lubricants of various types is not always enough. One may also consider take additional steps to prevent excessive evaporation, including:
- Turning heating or AC down or off
- Reducing or eliminating drafts from air ducts
- Using an eye guard or goggles
- Using a humidifier in the bedroom