Boy suffers allergic reaction to Oculus Quest 2 and eyes swell shut

Boy suffers allergic reaction to Oculus Quest 2 and eyes swell shut

December 29, 2021

Boy, 13, is rushed to hospital after his eyes swelled SHUT when he suffered an allergic reaction to Facebook’s £299 Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset he got as a Christmas present

  • The problem is recognised and has been reported by one in every 10,000 users
  • Kirst Reed, 33, from Surrey, said it looked like her boy was wearing blush
  • Within 48 hours of first playing with the headset, Lewis’ eyes had swollen shut
  • Doctors at St Peter’s Hospital in Lyne treated the boy with antihistamines
  • Facebook say the headsets do not contain hazardous or unexpected substances 

A boy was rushed to hospital after he had an allergic reaction to the Facebook virtual reality headset he got for Christmas, swelling his eyes shut.

Lewis Gray, 13, was thrilled when he received the Oculus Quest 2 from his grandparents and couldn’t wait to strap it to his head and start gaming.

It wasn’t until the next day when his mother, Kirsty Reed, 33, started to notice the skin around his eyes and forehead starting to go red.

He was taken to hospital when his eyes started to swell shut and doctors said it was an allergic reaction.

A recall alert showed Facebook received 5,716 reports of facial skin irritation – with reactions including rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives, and bumps – following use of the kit.

Lewis suffered a rare allergic reaction after using Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, causing the skin on his face to swell and turn red

Chris and Lewis Gray and Kirsty Reed (from left to right) pose with the Oculus Quest 2 that caused the 13-year-old to spend December 27 in hospital receiving treatment for an allergic reaction

The Oculus Quest 2 was a Christmas gift from Lewis’ grandparents, costing £299 from Curry’s. The silicone covering that comes with the set to protect the skin from rare allergic reactions is circled in red

They also received approximately 45 reports of consumers requiring medical attention. 

The Oculus Quest 2 – also known as Meta Quest 2 – is a virtual reality headset created by Facebook Technologies, and can be used to play games. 

Lewis’ grandparents bought the virtual reality headset for £299 from Curry’s. 

Mum Kirsty, from Chertsey, Surrey, said: ‘He played with it Christmas day on and off over a period of a few hours.

‘When he woke up on Boxing Day morning there was irritation along his cheekbones and on his forehead.

Kirsty said on Boxing Day, after having played with the headset on Christmas Day, Lewis woke up looking like he was ‘wearing blusher’. On December 27, worrying swelling began

Kirsty gave her son Piriteze after noticing a slight amount of swelling following Lewis’ use of the headset. Lewis didn’t use the protective silicone covering, and his mother said it wasn’t clear what it was supposed to be used for

‘It almost looked like he was wearing blush.

‘There was a slight amount of swelling so I gave him some Piriteze, but the next morning he’s woken up and his eyes are nearly shut with the swelling.’

On Monday 27 December, he woke up and his father Christopher Gray, 39, rushed him to the urgent treatment centre at St Peter’s Hospital in Lyne.

When the doctor saw him, they suggested it was likely a delayed allergic reaction to the headset and prescribed him some antihistamines and precautionary steroids.

Kirsty said: ‘It’s worrying because you don’t know what’s going to happen or if the reaction’s going to go further onto the throat.

Kirsty claimed ‘it doesn’t say anything could cause irritation in the information booklets that come with it’. A copy of the manual warns users about the potential for skin irritation

‘Anaphylaxis was a major concern as the swelling was so much.

‘The doctors had said if you get more irritation in his eyes or it swells more we would have to go straight back.

‘It could have completely closed his eyes if it had continued. 

‘It’s not very nice. I don’t think Lewis fully understood until he spoke to the doctor.’

Support worker Kirsty researched the Oculus Quest 2, and found that the product had been temporarily recalled in July.

Facebook, who own Oculus, started receiving reports of skin irritation in December 2020 and started an investigation.

The science behind face-swelling allergies 

Doctors call the condition ‘allergic contact dermatitis’, and it can be triggered by anything your body is sensitive to.

Common allergens include rubber products like latex, sun cream, poison ivy, black henna and metals like nickel.

The dermatitis can manifest in many ways, from swelling to rashes and even hives. 

An allergic reaction of the type suffered by a small percentage of Oculus Quest 2 users is very different from an anaphylactic reaction.

Anaphylactic reactions, which can even affect a person’s breathing, involve the body releasing an antibody known as IgE.

In allergic contact dermatitis, Ige is not released. 

This was updated in April, saying that they had ‘identified a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process which could contribute to skin discomfort.’

It added that, even though these were below industry standard, they had ‘changed [their] process to reduce them even further.’

But, in July, another notice was put on the Oculus website stating the more people who had started using the headset, the more cases had come in.

It read: ‘We’ve received reports that a very small percentage (0.01%) of Quest 2 customers were experiencing skin irritation after using the Quest 2 removable foam facial interface.’

They also then offered a free silicone cover to headset owners to protect their skin, and said that all new units would include one from August 24.  

Kirsty said: ‘What I can understand from what I’ve read up is that it’s the foam on the headset itself and there is chemicals.

‘But it doesn’t say anything could cause irritation in the information booklets that come with it.

‘It took me some digging to find the issues.’

MailOnline obtained a copy of the Oculus Quest 2 safety manual and found it does state that skin irritations are possible with use of the product.

Lewis’ device did come with the silicone cover, but Kirsty claims there was no indication as to why it was there – and so she did not use it.

While there were warnings included for epilepsy and that the product wasn’t suitable for children under 13, Kirsty couldn’t see anything mentioning potential skin irritation.

She said: ‘It didn’t even come with a cover on it.

‘It’s separate, which makes you think, if this is an issue, why doesn’t it come with it on?

‘It’s a really high-tech gaming device that a lot of children want and we need this warning about the potential risks involved.

‘Why are they still producing it exactly the same when they know there’s a problem?

‘Lewis is quite fortunate he doesn’t have underling allergens but for someone who’s prone for anaphylaxis it could kill someone.’

According to a statement on the Oculus Quest 2 website, 1 in 10,000 – or 0.01 percent – of users reported suffering skin reactions, with the vast majority of cases being mild

The mother-of-two contacted Oculus which has since told her to stop her son using the product and that they will contact her about next steps.

Andrew Bosworth, head of Facebook Reality Labs, published a letter in July addressing the reports of skin irritation.

It read: ‘We took the skin irritation reports very seriously as soon as we learned about them and, beginning in December, we promptly conducted a thorough investigation including receiving advice from leading dermatologists and toxicologists.

‘These experts have advised that skin irritation can occur in some segments of the population from many household items – even things like tomatoes or shampoo – and that the rates we’ve seen are in line with expectations.

‘Our investigation determined that our manufacturing process is safe, meaning no unexpected nor hazardous contaminants were found in the Quest 2 foam interface or manufacturing process.’

MailOnline contacted Facebook for comment, and although they declined to speak specifically to Lewis’ case, they did provide a link to a blogpost about the silicone cover and its use in avoiding rare skin reactions. 

Source: Read Full Article