ApeFest marred by reports of eye and skin injuries

Yuga Labs says they are talking to those who experienced eye and skin problems after a Hong Kong event last week

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ApeFest at NFT.NYC 2022 | Photo by Ornella Hernandez

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Several Bored Ape Yacht Club fans and owners have taken to X to report vision and skin problems after attending ApeFest, an event the NFT collection hosted in Hong Kong Nov. 3-5. 

One X user complained of “eyes burning” and “extreme pain,” prompting a trip to the emergency room, according to a Nov. 5 post. In the 108 replies to the post, more than ten fellow attendees reported similar symptoms, with some claiming a diagnosis of photokeratitis, which is when ultraviolet radiation damages cells in the eye. 

Photokeratitis, which is commonly caused by welding without eye protection, results in painful corneal abrasion, typically lasting anywhere from a few hours to several days, according to an emergency room physician who spoke with Blockworks. 

“Light bulbs have different wavelengths, so they could have been using bulbs with stronger UV wavelengths, and prolonged exposure can cause damage,” the physician added. 

If any lights broke or burst at the event, the physician added, this can increase the likelihood of widespread injury, according to a medical journal study

Yuga Labs, the crypto company behind the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, said in a statement that while they are “aware of the situation and are taking it seriously,” they also believe very few people were harmed. 

“We are actively reaching out to and are in touch with those affected,” a representative from Yuga Labs added. “We’re also pursuing multiple investigative lines of inquiry to learn the true root cause. Based on our estimates, the 15 people we’ve been in direct communication with so far represent less than one percent of the approximately 2,250 event attendees and staff at our Saturday night event.” 

In true crypto fashion, it took only a matter of hours for the online discourse around the incident to switch from concerned to trivial.

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“Still the best ApeFest yet,” one X user posted, about 31 hours after reporting eye pain.


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