A significant number of individuals have come forward with complaints of eye pain, vision issues, and sunburnt skin following their attendance at ApeFest, an event associated with the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection in Hong Kong, which took place from November 3rd to 5th.
ApeFest attendees took to X (formerly Twitter) to share their experiences, with some even seeking medical attention. One individual mentioned being diagnosed with Photokeratitis, commonly known as “welder’s eye,” a condition resulting from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Another attributed the problem to UV exposure from the stage lights, raising concerns about the event’s lighting practices.
“I woke up at 04:00 and couldn’t see anymore,” recounted @CryptoJune777. “Had so much pain, and my whole skin is burned. Needed to go to the hospital.”
Yuga Labs, the blockchain company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project, has acknowledged the situation and is treating the reports with utmost seriousness. Emily Kitts, a spokesperson for Yuga Labs, issued a statement to The Verge, saying, “We are actively reaching out and in touch with those affected to better understand the root cause.”
She added, “While we don’t release event attendance numbers, based on the inbounds we have received, our current estimate puts the percentage of people affected at much less than 1 percent of those working and attending our Saturday night event.”
Similar symptoms, such as sunburn and the sudden onset of intense eye pain, were previously reported in 2017 by attendees of a Hypebeast event at The Landmark commercial complex in Hong Kong. Investigations later revealed that the venue had installed lighting primarily for disinfection purposes. Notably, The Landmark venue was not part of the ApeFest event plan, and the two incidents appear unrelated.