top of page
  • Writer's pictureHouman Ahdieh, MD

Why Does Bono Always Wear Sunglasses?

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

If you’ve seen Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2, in concert, in a photograph, on video, or TV, he’s probably wearing sunglasses. The right sunglasses can make you look cool, which almost every rock and roller wants. But it’s more than that for him.

Sunglasses Can Be More Than a Fashion Item

On a BBC talk show in 2014, he explained it’s not just to portray a rock and roll image but due to glaucoma. Those with the condition often wear sunglasses because they’re sensitive to light.

On the Graham Norton Show, Bono, 54 at the time, responded to questions about his ever-present sunglasses. Bono said he’d had glaucoma treatments for 20 years. According to The Guardian, they were effective, and “…I’m going to be fine.”

Even World-Famous Singers in Their 30s Have Glaucoma

Bono is probably the world’s most famous person treated for early glaucoma. U2 was formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976. Since then, it’s released 14 studio albums, sold 170 million of them and won 22 Grammy awards. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted U2 in 2005.

What is Glaucoma?

A buildup of pressure in the eyeball causes glaucoma, which may damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness. Early diagnosis can prevent vision from worsening through laser treatment, eye drops, and surgery. The best protection against glaucoma is regular testing. If you’re diagnosed with it, treatment can start immediately

Glaucoma, if untreated, can cause blindness. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but that risk increases with age. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, is a chronic condition that must be monitored for life.

About 10% of people receiving proper treatment will still experience vision loss, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF). It’s incurable, lost vision cannot be regained, but sight may be maintained with medication and or surgery.

Open-angle glaucoma has virtually no symptoms and doesn’t cause pain. The condition’s impact typically starts with the loss of peripheral or side vision, which you may not notice because it’s so gradual.

Glaucoma by the Numbers

According to the GRF:

  • More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma. Only half are aware of it

  • More than 120,000 people in the US are blinded by glaucoma, causing 9% to 12% of blindness in the country

  • The World Health Organization estimates glaucoma is the world’s second leading cause of blindness. About 60 million people worldwide may have the condition

  • Glaucoma disproportionately affects African Americans. Blindness due to glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. It’s also 15 times more likely to impair them than Caucasians. Open-angle glaucoma causes 19% of all blindness among African Americans but only 6% in Caucasians

  • Other high-risk groups are severely nearsighted people, diabetics, those older than 60, and those with family members who have glaucoma


The Lehigh Valley Center for Sight Can Help You Maintain Your Sight

If you want to schedule an eye exam or have questions or concerns about your vision or glaucoma in particular, call us at 610-437-4988 or use our online contact form. We can answer your questions and schedule an eye exam to determine if you have an eye condition and, if so, what we can do to help.

Houman Ahdieh, MD Lehigh Valley Center for Sight



bottom of page