World Glaucoma Week 2020 (8 - 14 March)


Kirk PengillyIconic Aussie rock star Kirk Pengilly from INXS has joined Glaucoma Australia in our fight against eye disease.

Having almost lost his own sight to glaucoma at 29, Kirk is encouraging Australians to look after their eye health during World Glaucoma Week (8-14 March 2020).

“When I got glaucoma 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.” – Kirk Pengilly

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, affecting over 300,000 Australians1, yet it is estimated that 50% of those living with glaucoma are undiagnosed1.

While nine out of 10 Australians say that sight is their most valued sense 2, as many as one in three Australians cannot recall having an eye test in the past two years.3

You can help change the statistics.

Who is at risk?

While people over the age of 50 and those with a family history of glaucoma have a higher risk, Kirk is proof that anyone can be blindsided by this insidious disease. Known risk factors include:

  • a family history of glaucoma
  • high eye pressure
  • being aged over 50
  • being of African or Asian descent
  • diabetes
  • myopia (nearsighted)
  • prolonged use of cortisone (steroid) medication
  • migraines
  • an eye operation or eye injury
  • a history or high or low blood pressure

Abridged: NHMRC Guidelines, 2010

Get tested

Glaucoma Australia recommends all Australians 50 years or older visit an optometrist every 2 years for a comprehensive eye exam, and if you have a family history of glaucoma or are of Asian or African descent we recommend you get your eyes checked every 2 years from the age of 40.

Did you know?

  • Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia

  • Known as the 'silent thief of sight' glaucoma develops slowly and often without any symptoms, leaving people undetected until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Left untreated, it can cause vision loss and may even lead to blindness.

  • While vision loss can’t be restored, early diagnosis and treatment can delay or halt the progression of the disease. That is why it’s so important to detect the problem as early as possible.

  • It is estimated that there are 300,000 Australians living with glaucoma, but over 50% are unaware they have it, thinking they have healthy eyes.

  • Glaucoma is hereditary - you are 10x more likely to have glaucoma if you have a direct family member with glaucoma.

  • First degree relatives of a person with glaucoma have an almost 1 in 4 chance if developing glaucoma in their lifetime, and that risk increases to 56% if their glaucoma is advanced. So knowing your family health is important.

How to get involved

Start a conversation

  • Host your own event to help raise glaucoma awareness. We would love to hear what you have planned, so email us at
  • Encourage people at risk of developing glaucoma to get their eyes checked at least every 2 years.
  • Remind anyone with glaucoma to alert first-degree relatives of the benefits of early and regular eye checks.

Share our campaign materials and resources

  • Glaucoma Australia has created a suite of materials and resources you can download and use to help increase glaucoma awareness and early detection. Visit

Other ways you can support us!

  • Follow us on Facebook - share our social media updates in the lead-up to and throughout World Glaucoma Week 2020.
  • Host your own fundraiser - visit our website to create your own fundraising page
  • Donate - all funds raised go towards glaucoma awareness, education, support and research.



  1. Keel S, Xie J, Foreman J, Lee PY, Alwan M, Fahy ET, et al. Prevalence of glaucoma in the Australian National Eye Health Survey. Br J Ophthalmol. 2018; 26 April 2018:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-311786.
  2. The National Eye Health Survey 2016
  3. Specsavers Eye Health Report 2019-20: The measured facts on eyecare and eye disease in Australia and New Zealand.
  4. NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) Guidelines for the screening, prognosis, diagnosis, management and prevention of glaucoma 2010.