Facebook Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset caused allergic reaction in boy, 13

A boy was hospitalized after having an allergic reaction to the Facebook virtual reality headset he got for Christmas – his eyes closed.

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

It wasn’t until the next day that Mama Kirsty Reed, 33, noticed the skin around his eyes and forehead was turning red.

He was rushed to the hospital when his yes swelled and doctors said it was an allergic reaction.

A recall alert showed that Facebook received 5,716 reports of skin irritation on the face including rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives and bumps after using the kit.

The Oculus Quest 2 – also known as Meta Quest 2 – is a virtual reality headset developed by Facebook Technologies that can be used for gaming.

Mama Kirsty of Chertsey, Surrey said, “He played back and forth for a couple of hours on Christmas Day.

“When he woke up on the morning of Boxing Day, his cheekbones and forehead were irritated.

“It almost looked like he was wearing blush.

“He was slightly swollen so I gave him some Piriteze, but the next morning he woke up and his eyes are almost closed from the swelling.”

He woke up on Monday, December 27th, and his father, Christopher Gray, 39, took him to the emergency room at St. Peter’s Hospital in Lyne.

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

Kirsty said, “It’s worrying because you don’t know what’s going to happen or if the reaction is getting worse.

“Anaphylaxis was a big problem because the swelling was so severe.

“The doctors had said that if his eyes were any more irritated or swollen any more, we should go back immediately.

“It could have closed its eyes completely if it had continued like this.

“It’s not very nice. I think he didn’t quite understand it until he spoke to the doctor.”

Support rep Kirsty researched the Oculus Quest 2 and found that the product was temporarily recalled in July.

Facebook, now known as Meta, received reports of skin irritation in December 2020 and opened an investigation.

This was then updated in April to say that they “identified some trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process that can contribute to skin discomfort”.

It added that although they were below industry standards, they had “changed” [their] Process to reduce it even further. “

But another notice was posted on the Oculus website in July saying that the more people started using the headset the more cases would come in.

Facebook Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset caused allergic reaction in boy, 13 1

It said, “We have received reports that a very small percentage of Quest 2 customers experienced skin irritation after using the Quest 2 removable foam facial interface.”

Facebook / Meta then also offered headset owners a free silicone case to protect their skin, and all new units would include one starting Aug. 24.

A recall alert showed that Facebook received 5,716 reports of facial skin irritation with reactions such as rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives and bumps after using Oculus Quest 2.

They also received approximately 45 reports from consumers in need of medical attention.

Kirsty said, “What I can understand from what I’ve read is that it’s the foam on the headset itself and there are chemicals in it.

“But there is nothing in the information brochures supplied that could lead to irritation.

“It took me some time to find the problems.”

The Oculus Quest 2 to Lewis

Lewis’ device came with the silicone case, but Kirsty claims there is no indication of why it was there.

Although warnings for epilepsy were included and the product was unsuitable for children under the age of 13, Kirsty could not see anything suggestive of possible skin irritation.

She said, “It didn’t even come with a cover, it’s separate, which makes you think, if that’s a problem why isn’t it?

“It’s a really high-tech play device that a lot of kids want, and we need that warning about the potential risks involved.

“Why are they still producing it exactly that way when they know there is a problem?

“Lewis is very lucky that he has no minor allergens, but for someone prone to anaphylaxis, it could kill someone.”

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

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

It said, “We took the skin irritation reports very seriously as soon as we heard about them, and from December onwards we carried out a thorough investigation, including advice from leading dermatologists and toxicologists.

“These experts pointed out that many household items can cause skin irritation in some populations – even things like tomatoes or shampoo – and that the rates we observed are as expected.

“Our investigation found that our manufacturing process is safe, which means that no unexpected or dangerous contaminants have been found in the foam interface or the Quest 2 manufacturing process.”

A statement on the MetaQuest / Oculus website said: “As more people use Quest 2, we have received reports that a very small percentage of Quest 2 customers have experienced skin irritation after using Quest 2’s detachable foam facial interface . We have worked hard to address the problem, working with experts and adjusting our manufacturing process and communicating proactively with regulators.

“The safety and comfort of every customer is our top priority. As part of this commitment, we are now offering a free silicone case to Quest 2 headset and Quest 2 Fit Pack owners worldwide.”

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