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Thomas Wubben, Altaf Khan, Yannek Isaac Leiderman, Felix Chau, Thomas J Royston, Iris S Kassem; Ocular injuries from the impact of collapsible laundry hamper wires. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5486.
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Two patients at the University of Illinois at Chicago Eye and Ear Infirmary sustained open globe injuries from contact with the free end of a wire from a collapsible laundry hamper (Fig 1a, b). Both patients had a full thickness corneal laceration and vitreous hemorrhage (Fig 2a). Other findings included a hyphema, dense cataract with posterior capsule rupture, choroidal rupture (Fig 2b), and commotio retinae. This study determines the energy generated by the release of the wire within the hamper from the fabric covering and correlates it to clinical findings in these patients.
An apparatus was created to simulate failure in the wire laundry hamper when the fabric or mesh covering becomes compromised. The hamper was fixed, and the free end of the spring mechanism embedded within the hamper was released two different lengths: 90 and 180 degrees of the total circumference (Figure 1b, c). When the free end of the spring mechanism was released, the camera captured the motion at 86 Hz (Fig 1d). The image was post processed to calculate maximum velocity.
When the free wire end of the collapsible hamper was released, maximum velocities ranged from 7.3 to 13.5 meters per second. Kinetic energies of 0.7 and 4.9 Joules, with area normalized energies of 76 and 510 kJ/m2, were obtained when the wire was released 90 and 180 degrees of the hamper circumference, respectively.
Collapsible, wire laundry hampers have the potential to cause severe ocular injuries when the sharp wire end is exposed by impaling the eye; but the potential for blunt force trauma when the wire is released from the mesh covering can also result in vision-threatening injury secondary to the energy generated. Consumers need to be educated about the potential risks of this product. We also advocate making additional alterations to the product design to reduce such injuries in the future.
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