Glaucoma Australia’s fundraising initiative, the 7 Sights Challenge, is raising much-needed funds to help take glaucoma blindness out of the picture while increasing Australians’ awareness of this insidious eye disease.
Running throughout March, the 7 Sights Challenge is asking Australians to capture seven pictures while they are out and about enjoying life. The challenge is designed to remind them their sight is precious as they snap moments in time while raising much-needed funds for glaucoma research to improve patients’ quality of life, early detection programs and critical support services.
Laurence Outim, an optometrist in Bathurst, participated in last year’s challenge, taking out the title of Most Enthusiastic 7 Sights Challenger 2022. Laurence posted photos of his penny-farthing ride to Abercrombie House and road cycling to Mount Panorama and other places in Bathurst, uploading them to YouTube on ecopenny.
“I wanted to give a behind-the-scenes view of where my photos came from and the places that they were taken to really highlight how important your sight is. As an optometrist I think a great deal of work has been done to create awareness of the need for eye examinations, but I still have so many people come into the practice saying their last visit was five or 10 years ago. I am constantly reinforcing the importance of regular check-ups, not only for glaucoma, but other eye diseases, especially for those over the age of 40,” Laurence says.
“Campaigns like the 7 Sights Challenge are critical in prompting people to get a regular eye examination, which is so important when it comes to glaucoma. Glaucoma is called the ‘sneak thief of sight’ because often its symptoms don’t present until a very late stage when permanent damage to the sight has occurred. Getting a regular eye examination is a preventative thing. We need to be able to capture changes in people eye’s earlier before permanent and irreversible damage occurs. Spreading awareness, undertaking research and funding critical support services all takes money, so I’m happy to get involved in the 7 Sights Challenge again and challenge other optometrists and eye specialists to do the same.”
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 sense,2 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.
Glaucoma Australia CEO Richard Wylie says, “Funds raised from the 7 Sights Challenge will go towards ground-breaking glaucoma research to improve patients quality of life, early detection programs and critical support services. Anyone can develop glaucoma and the risk increases with age. By the age of 40, about one in 200 Australians will be diagnosed with glaucoma; for some, that diagnosis will have a devastating effect on their quality of life."
“Australians have the power to save their sight and avoid the challenges that come with impaired sight simply by getting their eyes tested. Australians need to know that loss of vision is irreversible and life-changing. And for those who are currently living with glaucoma we need to provide support, reduce anxiety and improve treatment outcomes. All of this takes money, so please register today and take part in helping us help people who are living with glaucoma,” adds Richard.
Laurence says the 7 Sights Challenge is a fun challenge that’s easy for people to do.
“You can just use a mobile phone to take the photos, you don’t need fancy equipment. It gets you out and about in your local community, and importantly, every donation that you raise is for a worthwhile cause, while bringing awareness to glaucoma and influencing people to have regular eye examinations. I’m hoping others in my field can get behind the 7 Sights Challenge and raise funds that will make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed with, or possibly soon to be diagnosed with, glaucoma.”
David Koch, one of Australia’s best-known personalities, and Australian music legend Kirk Pengilly are both ambassadors for Glaucoma Australia and the 7 Sights Challenge, having been diagnosed with glaucoma.
"What was so shocking to me was this: you can have an eye disease and not know about it," says David. “My ophthalmologist said if we hadn’t found the glaucoma when we did, and the pressure hadn’t been reduced, my sight would have been irreparably damaged, and I could have gone blind. My glaucoma diagnosis came out of the blue but it taught me that early detection means everything when it comes to saving sight".
Kirk nearly lost his sight to acute angle glaucoma while touring with INXS in the late 1980s. If it wasn’t for pioneering laser surgery at the time, his life may have been very different.
“The whole experience really hit home to me how important it was to look after your sight by having regular eye checks. By supporting the 7 Sights Challenge you are helping to raise the awareness of the importance of eye health as well as much-needed funds for research into improving quality of life for glaucoma patients and critical support services for those navigating the devastating impact of vision loss.”
To register or sponsor a participant to raise much-needed funds, visit the 7 Sights Challenge here.
The 7 Sights Challenge is an initiative of Glaucoma Australia and is supported by our Platinum Sponsor, Pinstripe Media, Gold Sponsor Mivision, and Silver Sponsors OPSM, Laubman & Pank and Specsavers.
1. Prevalence of open-angle glaucoma in Australia. The Blue Mountains Eye Study.
2. Australian Government Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/eye-health
3. Optometry Australia, The 2020 Vision Index.
For more information, please contact:
Paula Grace | Morey Media | 0415 562 333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.