INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly was diagnosed with non-hereditary glaucoma at the age of 29.
Pengilly, now 61, told Glaucoma Australia he came within an inch of losing his sight because of glaucoma. “Due to the severity of the disease, I was fast-tracked to a pioneering Australian ophthalmologist who quickly treated my deteriorating sight and prevented further damaged to my vision. Until that point, I had no idea what glaucoma was,” he said.
The rock star, who lives on Sydney’s northern beaches, became a Glaucoma Australia ambassador in November last year, hoping to raise greater awareness of the importance of eye health. He hopes to encourage Australians to discuss their family’s eye health to find out if they have a genetic history of eye disease.
“When I got glaucoma it really hit home. I realised how important sight was to me and, obviously, to everyone. It was a real wake-up call as I came so close to losing my eyesight. As a result, I’m certainly more aware of my eyes, my eye health and the importance of regular eye exams,” said Pengilly, who has played guitar, saxophone and sang backing vocals on dozens of INXS tracks and continues to perform with the band.