Glaucoma Australia (GA) has marked World Glaucoma Week (7 – 13 March 2021) with a new, upbeat campaign called ‘Treat Your Eyes’. Iconic Aussie rock star and glaucoma patient Kirk Pengilly is once again fronting the campaign, aimed at generating greater awareness of the disease and mobilising Australians at risk to get their eyes tested to avoid irreversible damage or blindness.
Demonstrating that life can be fulfilling with well-managed glaucoma, Mr Pengilly, and Kelly Mercieca, both of whom have glaucoma, along with ophthalmologist and GA co-founder Professor Ivan Goldberg, GA CEO Anne Gibbins and mivision director Todd Tai, took the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney BridgeClimb and Channel Seven News.
Driving Patients to Optometry
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The disease affects 300,000 Australians, with 50% unaware that they have the disease because they haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam. Known as the ‘silent thief of sight’ glaucoma develops slowly for most people, and a considerable amount of peripheral vision may be lost before the problem becomes apparent. There is no cure for glaucoma and vision loss is irreversible, making early detection and treatment key to saving sight.
CEO of Glaucoma Australia Annie Gibbins says, “Three in one hundred Australians will develop glaucoma in their lifetime, yet more than a third (35%) have not undergone regular eye examinations,1 thereby increasing their risk of glaucoma remaining undiagnosed. We need this to change. We hope the Treat Your Eyes campaign can spark Australians into action and get an eye test.
When I got glaucoma it really hit home how lucky I was to not lose my sight
“This year Australians can book an appointment through the Treat Your Eyes website page, enabling us to track the response to the campaign and set a number we can aim to beat next year,” added Ms Gibbins.
Kirk Pengilly, who had no family history of glaucoma –is proof that anyone can be blindsided by this insidious disease.
“When I got glaucoma it really hit home how lucky I was to not lose my sight,” said Mr Pengilly who was touring with INXS in the late 1980s when he experienced what felt like daggers being pressed into his eyes.
It was only thanks to pioneering laser surgery at the time that his sight was saved from what was an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack.
A retail out-of-home advertising campaign featuring Kirk Pengilly in the ‘Treat Your Eyes’ campaign, worth more than $1 million, has been developed by Shopper Media Group and is now appearing across its digital advertising panels in local shopping centres nationally. This is supported by television and radio community service announcements throughout March.