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Glaucoma Australia
February 2023

Throughout the month of March, Glaucoma Australia is asking Australians to join its fundraising initiative the 7 Sights Challenge to raise much-needed dollars for glaucoma research, early detection programs and critical patient support services. The funds will go towards helping people like 46-year-old father-of-two Shannon Davis, whose life changed dramatically with his devastating glaucoma diagnosis.

Image of Shannon and his family

The 7 Sights Challenge asks Australians to capture pictures while they’re out and about – whether they walk, paddle, run, swim or ride – on their own or as part of a team. By snapping and posting, everyday Australians will be shining a light on the importance of sight while encouraging family, friends and colleagues to donate to this important cause.

Research into improving treatment outcomes and quality of life for people with glaucoma and support services are critical in enabling Shannon Davis to manage his everyday family life with his deteriorating sight. With no known family history of glaucoma and the only one in his family without prescription glasses, Shannon was floored when an eye exam revealed he was legally blind. 

“I was shocked and confused when I was told I had glaucoma and its progression was so far advanced. I had lost a large and irreversible amount of vision in both eyes, which resulted in me being medically retired from work. My life literally changed there and then,” says Shannon. 

“Unfortunately, the fear of losing my remaining vision is always with me and keeps me awake at night. The realisation that my disablement is permanent, will get worse over time and there is nothing I can do to turn that around is extremely difficult to come to grips with. My eldest son, who is five, will often ask, ‘Dad, are your sore eyes better?’ While I reassure him that they are fine I know in my heart there will come a time where I am going to have to sit down and have an emotional conversation with him about the state of my vision and extremely poor prognosis.

“For me, it’s bittersweet to see my children reach various milestones, all the while knowing there are significant events in the not-so-distant future that I won’t be able to see. But my wife and I have adopted a bit of a bucket-list life mentality – we no longer put off things we enjoy doing and travel is back on the top of the list post-Covid.”

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, affecting 300,000 Australians, yet it is estimated that 50% of those living with glaucoma are undiagnosed and are at risk of losing their sight.1 While nine out of 10 Australians say that sight is their most valued sense2, more than 8 million Australians are not having regular eye tests.3 There is no cure for glaucoma and vision loss is irreversible, so early detection and treatment is key to saving sight.

Shannon’s wife Bronwyn says Shannon’s glaucoma diagnosis is challenging for the family but has reinforced the value of good health.

“Shannon would hit his head on kitchen cupboards, or bump into things. I was always thinking that maybe he was not concentrating or just a little clumsy. But it turned out that it was his deteriorating peripheral vision,” she says.

“Shannon not being able to drive has presented its challenges, particularly with young children. For now, he’s happy and able to help with school drop-off and he’s adopted an incredibly positive attitude, which has seen him really looking after his health so he can be the healthiest version of himself for our family.”

Glaucoma Australia CEO Richard Wylie says, “Stories like Shannon’s are hard to hear, especially as a father myself, and that’s why the 7 Sights Challenge is so important. Anyone can develop glaucoma and the risk increases with age: about 1 in 200 Australians will have glaucoma by the age of 40.

“Early detection is key and Australians have the power to save their sight and avoid the challenges that come with impaired vision simply by getting their eyes tested. Australians need to know that loss of vision is irreversible and life-changing. 

“The 7 Sights Challenge can help people like Shannon improve their quality of life and outcomes for their ongoing sight management through funded support programs and research. So please register today and take part in helping us help people who are living with glaucoma,” adds Richard.

Australian music legend Kirk Pengilly is an ambassador for Glaucoma Australia and the 7 Sights Challenge, having nearly lost his sight to acute angle glaucoma. “It was a total shock when I was diagnosed with glaucoma. It really hit home to me how important it was to look after your sight,” says Kirk, who was touring with INXS in the late 1980s when he experienced what felt like daggers being pressed into his eyes.  

“Without the pioneering surgery I had at the time I may not have lived the life and career that I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed. This surgery – albeit a more sophisticated version – is now one of the mainstays of glaucoma treatment today, and it was thanks to research that this breakthrough was made. That’s why supporting the work of our Australian researchers and patients in the fight against this sight-stealing disease is so important.”

David Koch, one of Australia’s best-known personalities is also throwing his support behind the 7 Sights Challenge because, like Shannon, he had no symptoms when he was diagnosed with glaucoma three years ago.  

“My diagnosis of glaucoma came completely out of the blue and was a real wake-up call about the importance of eye checks. We need Australians to stay on top of their eye health, get regular checks to avoid irreversible damage to their sight, and get behind the 7 Sights Challenge to help those, like Shannon, whose glaucoma diagnosis has directly impacted their lives now and into the future.” 

To register or sponsor a participant to raise much-needed funds, visit the 7 Sights Challenge website here.

The 7 Sights Challenge is an initiative of Glaucoma Australia and is supported by our Platinum Sponsor, Pinstripe Media, Gold Sponsors Mivision and HBK, Silver Sponsors OPSM, Laubman & Pank and Specsavers and Bronze Sponsor Designs For Vision.


1. Prevalence of open-angle glaucoma in Australia. The Blue Mountains Eye Study.
2. Australian Government Department of Health
3. Optometry Australia, The 2020 Vision Index.

For more information, please contact:
Paula Grace | Morey Media | 0415 562 333 | 

ABOUT Glaucoma Australia

Glaucoma Australia provides sight-saving advocacy, education, and practical and mental support for people with glaucoma and their families as well as funding ground-breaking research to improve treatments outcomes. Glaucoma Australia helps people with glaucoma get detected early and to adhere to their treatment management plan to prevent irreversible sight loss and improve their quality of life.