Festival goers ‘almost lost their eyesight’ because of ‘UV lights’ at tech event

Some people said they ended up in hospital.

Festival goers ‘almost lost their eyesight’ because of ‘UV lights’ at tech event
People 'almost lost their eyesight' at tech event (Picture: X/Getty)
A number of people reported pain in their eyes and burning skin after attending this year’s ApeFest in Hong Kong (Picture: Getty Images North America)

Several festival goers claim they almost lost their eyesight at a major tech event in Hong Kong after being exposed to UV lights.

Attendees took to X (formerly Twitter) to report waking up in the night with searing pain in their eyes and burning skin after attending ApeFest on Saturday night.

Some said they ended up in hospital and were struggling to see, with a few suggesting UV lights at the event were to blame.

The annual festival is held for members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 NFTs, and features panel discussions and the opportunity to meet other web3 creators and collectors.

Organisers Yuga Labs said they had reached out to 15 attendees who have complained of symptoms and were looking into the ‘root cause’ of the issue.

More than 2,000 people attended the event, they added.

One festival goer, @cryptojune777 wrote on X: ‘I woke up at 4am and couldn’t see anymore. Had so much pain and my whole skin is burned. Needed to go to the hospital.’

People 'almost lost their eyesight' at tech event (Picture: X/Getty)
Festival goers took to Twitter to share their experience (Picture: X/Getty)

The attendee said a doctor told them it was caused by UV lighting from the stage, which has the same effect as the sun.

Meanwhile, @feld4014, who had also been at the event wrote: ‘Anyone else’s eyes burning from last night? Woke up at 3am with extreme pain and ended up in ER.’

@creamcurtis added: ‘Yes, me too 3am woke up eyes burning I could barely open them.’

The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s official X account has since posted: ‘Apes, 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.

People 'almost lost their eyesight' at tech event (Picture: X/Getty)
Some said they ended up having to go to hospital (Picture: X/Getty)

‘Based on our estimates, we believe that much less than 1% of those attending and working the event had these symptoms. While nearly everyone has indicated their symptoms have improved, we encourage anybody who feels them to seek medical attention just in case.’

One person on X however said: ‘Seems like ApeFest accidentally used UVC lighting used for disinfecting, causing harmful skin & eye burns photokeratitis, temporary blindness is possible, but hopefully after 2 days everyone should be ok.’

People 'almost lost their eyesight' at tech event (Picture: X/Getty)
People speculated that UV lights caused the issue (Picture: X/Getty)

A Yuga Labs spokesperson told Metro: ‘We are aware of the situation and are taking it seriously. We are actively reaching out to and are in touch with those affected.

‘We’re also pursuing multiple investigative lines of inquiry to learn the 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.’

The spokesperson did not mention if UV lights were being investigated as a possible cause.

In 2017, a pop-up event in Hong Kong left several attendees with sensitive eyes and ‘sunburn’ after exposure to decorative ultraviolet lights, according to a report by the Hong Kong Free Press.

The event at The Landmark shopping mall, was hosted by Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama and fashion publication Hypebeast.

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