Attendees of the ApeFest event hosted by Yuga Labs in Hong Kong on November 4th have come forward with distressing accounts of eye pain, vision impairment, and extreme discomfort, which they attribute to the inappropriate lighting used at the event.
One attendee, who goes by the name CryptoJune, shared on Twitter on November 5th that they woke up in the middle of the night after ApeFest with excruciating eye pain, which led them to seek medical attention.
According to CryptoJune, a doctor informed them that the pain was caused by exposure to UV radiation from the stage lights. They expressed their surprise, as they had attended many festivals in the past without such issues, and questioned the safety of the lighting used at ApeFest.
Notably, many of those experiencing eye problems were in close proximity to the main stage’s lighting display.
Another ApeFest guest, using the pseudonym Feld, reported identical symptoms, saying, “Anyone else’s eyes burning from last night? Woke up at 3 am with extreme pain and ended up in the ER.”
Among the hundreds of ApeFest attendees, at least 15 cases of vision damage have been documented on social media, primarily among those who were near the stage lighting.
Yuga Labs has not provided an immediate response to requests for comments regarding the incident.
This incident is not the first of its kind in Hong Kong, as partygoers have previously suffered medical issues due to improper UV lighting exposure. On October 20, 2017, attendees at an event organized by streetwear brand HypeBeast reported painful burns and eye damage. It was later revealed that the contractor responsible for setting up the lighting had used Philips TUV 30W G30 T8 light bulbs, which emit 12 watts of UV-C radiation, primarily intended for surface disinfection, according to Philips’ website.
The reported vision problems in both cases align with a condition known as photokeratitis, or “Welder’s eye,” which is caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of UV radiation, often from artificial sources like welding lamps, but can also result from natural sunlight reflecting off bright surfaces, a phenomenon commonly referred to as snow blindness.