Associate Professor Blanka Golebiowski is an optometrist and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS). Her research aims to 1) advance the understanding of mechanisms behind dry eye and eye pain, and to inform the development of new, effective, and ultimately curative treatments and management strategies, and 2) improve eye care for disadvantaged populations. A/Prof Golebiowski is keen to translate her research into real world solutions, in collaboration with industry and organisations outside of academia
Prior to commencing her academic career, she worked as an optometrist in private practice in rural and metropolitan regions of Australia and New Zealand, and as a principal investigator liaising with industry on clinical trials of contact lenses.
OCULAR SURFACE. A/Prof Golebiowski's research uses novel approaches to examine the causes of ocular surface dysfunction and eye irritation in dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction, allergy, contact lens wear, refractive surgery (LASIK). Key areas of research focus include corneal innervation, neuro-immune modulation and and sex hormones (eg oestrogen). A/Prof Golebiowski is also interested in ocular surface health in children and adolescents, especially the effects of smartphone use and contact lens wear.
Expertise: design, conduct and management of clinical trials, specialised ocular surface examination techniques including confocal microscopy, corneal nerve analysis, examination of dendritic cells, aesthesiometry, meibomian gland and tear function assessment, blink assessment, and measurement of ocular symptoms and eye pain, assessment of sex hormones in the tear film using ultrasensitive mass spectroscopy.
Keywords: innervation of the cornea and conjunctiva, corneal and conjunctival sensitivity, ocular surface symptoms, eye pain, corneal dendritic cells, tear film, dry eye, contact lenses, sex hormones, ocular allergy, ocular surface inflammation, dry eye treatment, tear film, meibomian glands, smartphones.
PUBLIC HEALTH. A/Prof Golebiowski has an active clinical and research interest in eye health and access to eye care by disadvantaged populations, including asylum seekers and refugees. She co-ordinates the UNSW Eye Clinic based at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, and has received the AMP Tomorrow Fund award for this work.
Keywords: refugee and asylum seeker eye care, eye health of disadvantaged populations, utilisation of eye care services.
HONOURS & AWARDS
- Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence: Postgraduate Research Supervision and Leadership in Supervision (2018)
- AMP Tomorrow Maker (2018)
- Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research, SOVS (2017)
- Sex, Gender and Hormones sub-committee - TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop II (DEWS II) (2017)
- Neurobiology sub-committee - TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort (2013)
- Elected member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR)
- Academic Women in Leadership, UNSW (2015)
Associate Professor Golebiowski is highly committed to endowing students with research skills to take to their future careers in academia or as optometric clinicians. Her teaching approach encourages collaboration and inspires student ownership of their projects, and she has been recognised with a UNSW Award for Teaching Excellence in supervision (2018). A/Prof Golebiowski headed higher degree student training as Postgraduate Research Director at SOVS (2007-2017). She has supervised 13 higher degree research and over 50 honours students.
A/Prof Golebiowski supervises students in the research areas below. If you are interested in undertaking a PhD, Masters or Honours research project with Dr Golebiowski, please contact her by email.
Current Student Research (PhD, Masters)
" In vivo assessment of corneal epithelial dendritic cells."
" Ocular allergy: Corneal and conjunctival epithelial dendritic cell distribution, density and morphology."
" The ocular surface and tear film in children."
" Eye discomfort and tear function with smartphone use."
" Effect of youth and contact lens wear on inflammatory status of the cornea."
" The smoke in your eyes: Impact of the Australian bushfires on the ocular surface."
Available Student Projects
- Measurement of sex hormones in tears using ultrasensitive mass spectrometry.
- Do sex hormones regulate tear production by the meibomian gland?
- A new instrument to measure sensitivity of the eye.
- Corneal and conjunctival neurobiology in dry eye and ocular pain and discomfort.
- Improving eye care for asylum seekers, refugees and recent migrants.
Completed PhD Projects
" The role of oestrogen in dry eye; the menstrual cycle and IVF treatment." (A.Boga 2019)
" Sex hormones, tears and dry eyes." (E.Gibson 2018)
" Measurement of clinical, bio- and neuro-markers of ocular surface and tear film in subjects with itchy eyes." (S.Kolanu 2016)
" Applications of holograms for spherical refractive error measurements." (N.Nguyen 2016)
" Sex hormones, ocular surface sensitivity and dry eye symptoms and signs in postmenopausal women." (N.Badarudin 2014)
" Structural and functional changes in corneal innervation after LASIK and their relationship with dry eye." (C.Chao 2014)
" The impact of overnight orthokeratology on sub-basal nerve plexus morphology and corneal sensitivity." (E.Lum 2013)
" Contemporary evaluation of ocular discomfort, clinical indicators and biomarkers of ocular surface health." (M.Gokhale 2013)
" A clinical description of ocular response analyser parameters." (W.Lau 2011)
" Issues pertaining to recruitment and retention of rural and remote optometrists in Australia." (MSc, R.Main 2009)
- Dry eye: contact lens wear, innervation and symptoms, sex hormones
- Ocular surface disease: allergy, biomarkers, diabetes, keratoconus, obesity and nutrition
- Digital devices (smartphones and computers), eye strain and dry eye
- Access to eye care by asylum seeker and refugee communities in Australia
- Use of alternative and complementary medicines