Research Title: Impact of bushfire smoke on ocular surface
Supervisor: A/Prof Blanka Golebiowski
Co-supervisors: A/Prof Isabelle Jalbert, A/Prof Fay Johnston (University of Tasmania)
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2019-2020 bushfire season was catastrophic in Australia with the eastern states experiencing air pollution 20x beyond hazardous levels. 1 in 2 Australians in regional NSW areas affected by the 2019-20 bushfires experienced eye discomfort, and this increased to 2 in 3 for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Anecdotal evidence suggested dry eye disease, allergic conjunctivitis, eye lid disease and soot foreign body particles in cornea were increased during the weeks of poor air quality.
The aim of my research is to characterise the damage to the ocular surface from acute and chronic exposure to Australian bushfires, to investigate possible causes of this through immune cell changes at the ocular surface, and to identify risk factors related to exposure dose, time lapse effect and to pre-existing systemic and ocular conditions.
My research will include clinical audits of 2019-20 bushfire smoke affected optometry practices in NSW, VIC and ACT, analysing historical symptom data from AirRater* during periods of bushfire smoke related poor air quality, studying the impact of repeated smoke exposure on firefighters and identifying the changes in ocular surface and dendritic cells with direct smoke exposure.
*AirRater is a smartphone application designed by a team lead by my co-supervisor A/Prof Johnston. It provides Australians users with geospecific environmental information in real time such as air pollution and aeropollen levels and prompts users to report their eye, breathing and nasal symptoms and associates this reporting with localised environmental conditions at the time.
Sukanya Jaiswal (Suki) graduated from BOptom/B Science in 2013 and MOptom in 2020 from UNSW. She is currently pursuing a PhD on the impact of bushfire smoke on eyes at SOVS. She has worked in clinical practice across Sydney and Canberra over the last eight years. Her interests are in ocular surface disease and the various ways that environment can affect ocular surface.
Bachelor of Optometry/Bachelor of Science (2009-2013), UNSW Sydney, Australia
Masters of Optometry (expected completion 2017-2020) UNSW Sydney, Australia
PhD (2020 - ) UNSW Sydney, Australia
Jaiswal, S., Asper, L., Long, J., Lee, A., Harrison, K. and Golebiowski, B., 2019. Ocular and visual discomfort associated with smartphones, tablets and computers: what we do and do not know. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 102(5), pp.463-477.
AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Optometry Australia (2013 – present)