Rocker s sight for sore eyes

While Kirk Pengilly is best known for his musical contribution to rock band INXS, he is also recognised by his trademark thick-rimmed black glasses that give him the sight he was so close to losing almost three decades ago.

This month Pengilly is working closely with the Ranzco Eye foundation in their JulEYE campaign to promote eye health awareness, a cause that's close to his heart after his scare at 27.

"I was actually on tour and the morning after the last show in Darwin I woke up with excruciating pain in my eyes," Pengilly told AAA.

"I couldn't open them and had to get a wheelchair to cross the tarmac to fly home to Sydney and I went straight to my optometrist."

Pengilly, who is married to former world women's champion pro surfer Layne Beachley, was diagnosed with acute glaucoma and was within millimetres of going blind. That's why this month he's advocating that everyone gets their eyes checked.

"'I'm trying to get out there and educate Australians about eye disease and encourage them to discuss it with their family, to look at their family history and to go and get your eyes checked this July."

This famous Aussie rock band's guitarist and sax player has also been keeping busy mentoring the next generation of artists alongside long-time friend Kylie Minogue on The Voice.

"They're really great singers and I very much enjoy trying to help them," he said.

"It was great fun. I hadn't caught up with Kylie for many years so it was really great to catch up with her."

Since the airing of Seven's mini-series Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS, the band has found renewed popularity, with several albums jumping back into the top 10 ARIA album charts and the rockers' The Very Best collection rising to the top spot.

"I think it's put us in people's minds again," he said.

"I've had lots of people come up to me and say that their teenagers are all into INXS now."

"I guess we're just very lucky that a lot of our songs have stood the test of time."

The West Australian

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