Wednesday 28 June 2017

Bono's eye condition sparks web search for glaucoma

Celebrity influence: U2 singer Bono has glaucoma
Celebrity influence: U2 singer Bono has glaucoma
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

U2 singer Bono's revelation that he suffers from the eye disease glaucoma caused a surge in people looking for information about the disease, doctors discovered.

The singer told the 'Graham Norton Show' in 2014 that the eye condition was the reason he was forced to wear his trademark sunglasses for protection.

He said that he has suffered from glaucoma, a build-up of pressure in the eyeball which can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness if not treated, for more than 20 years.

After this interview, there was a five-fold rise in online searches about the eye condition, according to a study by Galway-based doctors.

Influence

The study found that this is a good example of the power of celebrity diagnosis.

The 'Irish Medical Journal' reported that this study looked at Google trends to assess searches for the term 'glaucoma' between 2009 and 2015 in both Ireland and the UK.

Overall, a five-fold increase from the search activity for this term was found in Ireland and a two-fold rise in the UK.

Significantly, no such increase occurred during each country's 2014 Glaucoma Awareness week.

The study entitled 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For… Bono, Google and Glaucoma Awareness' pointed out that there are no symptoms for glaucoma in the early stages and it is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.

The researchers said capitalising on the interest generated by celebrity illness can increase coverage of health topics to levels that would ordinarily require huge media.

Irish Independent

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