INXS Member Promotes Eye Health After Glaucoma Scare

By Karen Bliss 12/12/10 |

Kirk Pengilly
Kirk Pengilly
Kirk Pengill, the bespectacled guitarist/saxophonist of Australian rock group INXS, has been involved with numerous charities over the decades from Greenpeace to Amnesty International. None, however, is more dear to him than The Eye Foundation for which he's an ambassador.

“I almost lost my sight to glaucoma back in the 80s,” Pengilly tells Samaritanmag. “I came that close to losing my sight and had pioneering laser surgery back then which fixed my eyes."

Glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve, leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss. 

“I’ve worn glasses all my life," says the 52-year-old Pengilly, "so I’m a very instrumental ambassador for The Eye Foundation for eye health, eye awareness and eye research. Everyone should get their eyes checked like you do your teeth. I do a lot of work for them from TVCs [television commercials], attending functions, talking.”

One of his public service announcements is for JulEYE, an annual Australian eye health awareness campaign encouraging people of all ages to get their eyes checked in the month of July and place eye tests every two years on their calendar of regular medical checkups.

To view the PSA, go to:

According to The Eye Foundation, which is based in Surry Hills, New South Wales, 75 percent of vision loss is preventable or treatable if detected early enough, yet every 65 minutes an Australian loses part or all of their vision.

The Eye Foundation, representing more than 890 Australian and New Zealand medical eye specialists, was founded in 2002 as the fundraising arm of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and The Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA). The not-for-profit eye health organization is dedicated to restoring sight and preventing vision loss throughout Australasia.

Kirk Pengilly
Kirk Pengilly
Whether or not your government healthcare system covers your eye examination or not, he says, "The big message is that people should go and get their eyes checked, even if they don't wear glasses because most eye disease can be stopped before [it progresses], like anything."

For eye information in Canada, go to the Eye Foundation of Canada; in America, the Eye Foundation of America and the U.K. Fight for Sight.

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