Lewis Gray, a 13-year-old boy enjoying the gifts he received for Christmas, was rushed to St Peter’s Hospital in Lyne after suffering a reaction from playing with the new Facebook Oculus Quest 2 headset he received from his grandparents.
Doctors told the boy he was likely suffering a delayed allergic reaction to the headset and prescribed him antihistamines and precautionary steroids.
His mother, Kirsty, tells the story:
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.
It almost looked like he was wearing blush.
There was a slight amount of swelling so I gave him some Piriteze [an antihistimine], but the next morning he’s woken up his eyes are nearly shut with the swelling.
Upon seeing the swelling, Lewis’ father rushed him to the hospital.
The Sun reports that a prior 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 headset.
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.
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.
The Oculus Quest 2 — also sold as the Meta Quest 2 — is a virtual reality headset produced by Facebook that allows users to play “3D” games online.
The company now known as “Meta” initiated an internal investigation after receiving reports of skin irritations in December 2020. The results yielded an admission by the company the following April that they “identified a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process which could contribute to skin discomfort.” The company claimed that although these substances were well below industry limits, they had changed their manufacturing to reduce them further.
In July 2021, a notice was posted on the Oculus site:
As more people started using Quest 2, we received reports that a very small percentage of Quest 2 customers were experiencing skin irritation after using the Quest 2 removable foam facial interface. We’ve been working hard to address the issue, working with experts and making adjustments to 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 cover to Quest 2 headset and Quest 2 Fit Pack owners globally.
To request a Quest 2 Silicone Cover, click or tap on “Start Your Process” and follow the instructions below. For those who have additional questions please refer to the FAQs here.
It didn’t even come with 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 underlying allergens but for someone who’s prone for anaphylaxis it could kill someone.
Meta told her to stop her son from using the headset and they would follow up with further instructions.
Andrew Bosworth, head of Facebook Reality Labs, published a letter in July stating:
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.