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Attendees of NFT festival report severe eye burns from improper stage lighting

Multiple attendees received a diagnosis of photokeratitis, or welder's eye.

Dozens of unfortunate attendees have reported severe pain and impaired vision after attending ApeFest, a Bored Ape NFT event in Hong Kong earlier this week. The culprit? UV stage lighting.

After returning home for the evening from the event, which celebrates the Bored Ape line of NFTs, several people took to X (formerly Twitter) to post about experiencing pain, problems with their eyesight, and trips to the ER. It soon became apparent that these were not isolated incidents, and could all be traced to attending ApeFest hours earlier.

“Anyone else’s eyes burning from last night? Woke up at 3am with extreme pain and ended up in the ER,” posted user Feld4014. “I saw a couple reports but just trying to figure out if there was a common thread.”

“I woke up at 04:00 and couldn’t see anymore. Had so much pain and my whole skin is burned. Needed to go to the hospital,” responded user CryptoJune777. “The doctor told me the UV of the lightning of the stage did it. It has the same effect as sunlight. Still can not see normally..”

Indeed, multiple attendees were given diagnoses of photokeratitis, commonly known as welder’s eye or snow blindness, which is akin to a sunburn on the cornea, from unprotected eye exposure to prolonged UV lighting. Attendees and social media users quickly honed in on UV stage lighting as the cause, speculating that improper lighting was used.

“I’ve seen several photos of the stage from this and these vertical lights are the same colour in all of them (ie they’re not RGB LED tape),” commented user Ross Henderson-McKillop. “Please tell me some moron didn’t use sub 300nm UV again?!?”

In a post on X, the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project, run by Yuga Labs, commented on the ordeal, saying, ” …we are aware of the eye-related issues that affected some of the attendees of ApeFest and have been proactively reaching out to individuals since yesterday to try and find the potential root causes.”

The company says they estimate that less than 1% of attendees were affected negatively by the lighting, a claim that some users dispute.

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