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Bungee Cords Can Cause Serious Eye Injury, Blindness, Doctors Warn

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Aldave and colleagues say that the heavy elastic cords from which bungees are made create tremendous force when they recoil, particularly when they are stretched beyond their recommended limits, such as when the user is trying to secure a heavy or overly large load.

"We asked every single patient, 'How did this happen?' and three of the 67 said that the hook actually straightened out under the force of the load. A couple of them said the hooks became disengaged from the cord -- they just broke apart -- but in almost all of the cases, the hook backed off what it was secured to," Aldave tells WebMD.

The researchers propose that the hooks be redesigned to include a closed clip on at least one end, and preferably on both. "We think it's really the only way we can prevent the bulk of these injuries, because I don't think consumers are going to wear protective eyewear, especially if they're only hooking or unhooking the cord for a few seconds. Nobody is going to go inside and get the safety glasses, so we think that the responsibility lies with the manufacturers," Aldave tells WebMD.

Aldave and his colleagues also recommend that bungee cord manufacturers be required to post a warning label about the dangers and the need for eye protection when using the products.

Vital Information:

 

  • Bungee cords are elastic tie-down straps with hooks on the end and are often used for such things as tying luggage to the top of the car.
  • Researchers report that these cords may be dangerous if they snap back, causing serious eye injury.
  • In most cases, injuries result when the hook becomes unattached to what it was secured to, so researchers recommend a new design with a gated clip.
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