Kerri-Anne Kennerley has ruled our airwaves for 50 years as an Australian television personality, actress and singer. An inductee into the Logie Hall of Fame, she is much loved as a woman of style, humour, humility and strength.
Known by her initials, KAK, the indomitable star has rarely been out of the public eye since her first television appearance in 1967 at the age of 13. From the highs to the lows, we’ve followed KAK along the way. So it’s great to catch up with her to hear how she stays looking so young and vital plus her latest role as ambassador for Specsavers and in particular the importance of good eye health.
Tell us about your lens replacement surgery.
I had lens replacement surgery years ago but I’d noticed deterioration in my vision and have been diagnosed with astigmatism, which is very common I’m told, so I now wear glasses for reading. I’ve actually only recently found out that this may be due to Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug I take. I didn’t look it up at the time but was told that this can cause vision problems.
Your mother experience problems with eye health. What was her condition and how debilitating was it?
My mum suffers vision loss as a result of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts, both of which are hereditary so I’m very conscious about regular eye checks. Both can cause sight loss but it can be prevented or treated if detected early enough. She is the perfect example of why you need to have regular eye tests, we were lucky that it was caught early enough to stop her eyes deteriorating too much but if it had been spotted earlier who knows! I have to say though, at 96, she is fantastic!
Australians are putting their sight needlessly at risk as new research reveals as many as 2 in 3 people over the age of 40 are currently experiencing a problem with their eyes but failing to get their eyes checked by an optometrist.
With uncorrected vision problems being the number one cause of vision loss in Australia, experts are warning that if Australians don’t get serious about their eye health, and start taking preventative measures to look after their eyesight, the number of people over the age of 40 with vision loss will rise exponentially over the coming years as our population ages.
Specsavers Head of Optometry, Ben Ashby, says: “In this day and age we shouldn’t be seeing people unnecessarily losing their vision but we are because eye health is just not a priority in the same way other health conditions like heart disease and cancer are. There is a worldwide issue with people not understanding the crucial importance of preventive eye care.”
How do you care for your eye health?
With a history of eye health in my family, I have always tried to prioritise eye health with regular eye tests. Not only for vision problems, but common eye conditions like Macular Degeneration and cataracts, which my mum suffers from, can have little or no visible symptoms in the early stages which is why regular tests are key in early detection and can make the difference between keeping and losing your sight. Mum has suffered vision loss and its awful to think that by ensuring you have regular eye tests, this could have been prevented or treated. As well as regular eye tests, whenever I read I wear my prescription reading glasses, it’s so important to make sure I’m not straining my eyes further.
If you notice your eyes are deteriorating go and get checked.
It’s something we all put off but it couldn’t be easier, and you get a nice new accessory! I’m also a big advocate of sunglasses, not just as a glam accessory, but they are crucial in protecting our eyes and the delicate skin around it. We’d never go out in the sun without protecting our skin, why would we not protect our eyes!
Have you always been good at taking care of your eye health, or health in general for that matter?
I’ve always tried to take care of my health including my eyes. It’s so easy to get regular checks, and we get every other part of our body checked, why do we ignore our eyes. I try to keep active and eat healthy. I live by the rule everything in moderation. I have free weights at home and a stationary bike which I spend time on most days. Dedicate just 20 minutes a day to exercise, it’s much easier to get your head around than an hour and makes the difference between doing something and nothing!
How is your adorable husband John after his tragic fall last year? You are both such a wonderful couple – we all pray for John’s quick recovery.
John is remarkable. He’s doing very well in his rehabilitation, we’ve got a great programme in place. His body fitness for his condition is good though there’s still no movement in his hands.
Of course, carers need caring for too. How do you take care of yourself?
The first step of taking care of yourself as a carer is creating a good, reliable routine. We have a great routine in place now. It’s important to take time for yourself. My time is usually spent on the golf course.
You seem to have the serum for eternal youth. Please share a morsel of that with us.
Beauty from the inside out. You have to physically feel energetic to project it with good nutrition and exercise. If you don’t use it you lose it, I try to exercise a little every day but as well as physical health I’m an advocate for positivity. I always walk about eliminating “mental obesity”, basically not letting yourself become overwhelmed by everything.