Friday, October 18, 2013

Are Illooms illuminated balloons safe? Err - No.

At a party recently a friend was handed an Illoom, a balloon with an LED light in it. Only £3.59 for 5. He blew it up. It burst. He got hit in the eye really hard by the LED part.

I was there and examined him once the acute pain had settled. The left temporal sclera (white bit) was reddened, and a small rectangular mark was visible on the sclera consistent with impact with a part of the LED.

I was concerned about the risk of retinal detachment, and insisted that he went to hospital the next day. I phoned the ophthalmologist to make sure the delay was OK.

The ophthalmologist saw bleeding on the inside of the eyeball, and had him back next day to check when the bleeding was less. As far as I know there was no retinal detachment. Luckily.

My friend wrote to Illooms manufacturers but they were completely unimpressed, presumably because there is H&S advice on the packet, printed in tiny script, about 8-point or possibly less. It should say DANGER OF BLINDNESS. USE HAND PUMP ONLY in 12-point.

In conclusion, although having a balloon with a light inside it is undeniably a hugely fun thing to have, spending several hours driving to hospital and being checked for possibly sight-endangering conditions is definitely not a lot of fun, and on balance, it might be better to save the money spent on Illooms and give it to, say, Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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