Sukanya (Suki) Jaiswal

PhD Candidate

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:

Twitter: @SukiJaiswal


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(Hons) 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. She is an advocate for women in STEM and seeks opportunities to mentor young optometrists.


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


Journal Articles

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 Optometry102(5), pp.463-477.


ARVO Foster Ocular Immunology Society Travel Grant 2021

University Postgraduate Award 2019 - 2024


ARVO 2021

Landscape Fire Symposium 2020


  • UNSW Women in Maths and Science Champion 2021
  • Optometry Australia (2013 – present)
  • ECONA (Early Career Optometrist NSW/ACT) Sub-committee Scope of Optometry Co-Chair
  • Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia
  • Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand CASANZ 2022
  • Graduate Women in Science