Attendees of Bored Ape NFT event in Hong Kong experience ‘eye-related issues’

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SINGAPORE: More than a dozen people who attended a Bored Ape Yacht Club festival in Hong Kong last weekend have reported experiencing issues with their eyes, media outlets including Bloomberg and Fortune reported on Monday (Nov 6). Posting on social media, attendees described experiencing “eye burn” and vision problems which they said were caused by ultraviolet (UV) light used in stage lighting at a party on Nov 4. About 2,500 non-fungible token (NFT) enthusiasts from 60 countries attended the festival, called ApeFest, which took place from Nov 3 to Nov 5, the South China Morning Post reported. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, cryptocurrency analyst Adrian Zdunczyk said that he had woken up with “severe eye burn” and was diagnosed with “photokeratitis over both eyes, accident related” after visiting an eye clinic. Advising other attendees to seek medical attention, he compared the condition to snow blindness, which is caused by exposure to UV rays. Mr Zdunczyk said that he was prescribed steroid eye drops and eye lubricants to treat the condition. Another attendee going by the name of Crypto June wrote on X: “Woke up in the middle of the night after Apefest with so much pain in my eyes that I had to go to the hospital … Doctor told me it was due to the UV from stage lights.” Crypto June added that “almost 1000 people were made blind” by lamps that were “not safe”. Speaking to the Financial Times, attendee Chloe Ge said that she felt as if her eyes were “being burnt with spicy chilli” in the early morning after the party. In a post on X on Monday, the Bored Ape Yacht Club said that it was “aware of the eye-related issues that affected some of the attendees of ApeFest” and had been “proactively reaching out to individuals … to try and find the potential root causes”. “Based on our estimates, we believe that much less than 1 per cent of those attending and working the event had these symptoms,” it said. “While nearly everyone has indicated their symptoms have improved, we encourage anybody who feels them to seek medical attention just in case.” Created by Yuga Labs, Bored Ape artworks were amongst the most high-profile symbols of the 2021 to 2022 NFT craze, selling at a peak minimum price of US$429,000 in April of last year. However, the crypto news website Decrypt reported in early July that prices had fallen 88 per cent from this peak. A report in September by dappGambl, which describes itself as “a team of crypto and crypto gambling experts”, found that about 95 per cent of all NFT collections were worthless.

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