Associate Professor Blanka Golebiowski

My Expertise

I am an optometrist and Associate Professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS). I am keen to translate my research into real world solutions and policy, in collaboration with industry and organisations outside of academia.

My research aims to advance understanding of the mechanisms causing dry eye and eye pain, in order to inform the development of new, effective, and ultimately curative treatments. 
In addition, my work in public health aims to improve eye care for underserved populations

Prior to commencing my academic career, I was fortunate to work 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. 

   ►  causes of eye irritation and ocular surface dysfunction
   ►  dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction, ocular allergy, contact lenses, refractive surgery (LASIK)
   ►  corneal innervation
   ►  neuro-immune modulation, in vivo assessment of corneal nerves and dendritic cells
   ►  sex, gender and hormone effects on the eye and tear film
   ►  climate change, environment and the eye: effects of bushfire smoke and air pollution
   ►  ocular surface health in children and adolescents, effects of smartphones, effects of contact lens wear

Methodological expertise:
   ►  design, conduct and management of clinical trials
   ►  measurement of ocular symptoms and eye pain
   ►  specialised ocular surface clinical techniques
   ►  in vivo confocal microscopy, corneal nerve analysis, examination of dendritic cells
   ►  aesthesiometry, meibomian gland and tear function assessment, in situ blink measurement
   ►  measurement of sex hormones levels using ultrasensitive LCMS
   ►  ocular surface cell culture

I have an active clinical and research interest in eye health and access to eye care by underserved populations, including asylum seekers and refugees. I co-ordinates the UNSW Eye Clinic in liaison with the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, and have received the AMP Tomorrow Fund award for this work.

•  Ocular surface (incl. dry eye and contact lenses)
•  Public health and health systems
•  Myopia research group


Fields of Research (FoR)

Ophthalmology and optometry, Public health



  •  Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence: Postgraduate Research Supervision and Leadership in Supervision
  •  Named in Women Research Pioneers in Australian Optometry
  •  Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
  •  AMP Tomorrow Maker
  •  Elected as member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR)
  •  Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research, SOVS
  •  British Contact Lens Association Global Consensus...view more


  •  Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence: Postgraduate Research Supervision and Leadership in Supervision
  •  Named in Women Research Pioneers in Australian Optometry
  •  Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
  •  AMP Tomorrow Maker
  •  Elected as member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR)
  •  Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research, SOVS
  •  British Contact Lens Association Global Consensus Report: Physiology of Contact Lens Wear (CLEAR, 2020)
  •  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)
  •  Academic Women in Leadership, UNSW (2015)



I am highly committed to endowing students with research skills to take to their future careers in academia, industry or as clinicians.  I encourage collaboration and inspire student ownership of their projects. I have been recognised with the highest UNSW Award for Teaching Excellence in research supervision.  I have supervised 19 PhD and >70 Honours and Masters students, and served as the Postgraduate Research Director at SOVS from 2007-2017.

I currently supervise students in the research areas below. If you are interested in undertaking PhD, Masters, ILP or Honours research with me, please contact me directly via email.

Current Student Research
" Effect of age and contact lens wear on the inflammatory status of the cornea."  Rabia Mobeen
" Eye discomfort, pain and blinking during smartphone use."
" Dendritic cells at the ocular surface: tracking the time-course of ocular allergy treatment." Ali Alghamdi
" In vivo assessment of corneal epithelial dendritic cells." Soumen Sadhu
" Impact of the Australian bushfires on the ocular surface."  Sukanya Jaiswal
" Environmental factors impact on meibomian gland function and tear lipid production." Ha Duong
" Do sex hormones regulate tear production by the meibomian gland?"  Suhyun Kweon
" Improving eye care for asylum seekers, refugees and recent migrants."  Albert Lee

Available Student Projects
-  Sex and gender influences on ocular pain and discomfort.
-  Neurobiology of the ocular surface in dry eye, eye pain and discomfort.
-  Climate change and the eye.
-  Blinking and driver fatigue.

Or please contact me to suggest a topic of your interest.

Completed PhD Projects
" Corneal and conjunctival epithelial dendritic cell in ocular allergy." (Zahra Tajbakhsh 2022; recommended for Outstanding Thesis award, Faculty of Medicine & Health)
" The ocular surface and tear film in children."  (Ngozi Chidi-Egboka 2022; Dean's Award for Outstanding Thesis, Faculty of Medicine & Health)
" The role of oestrogen in dry eye; the menstrual cycle and IVF treatment." (A.Boga 2020)
" Sex hormones, tears and dry eyes." (E.Gibson 2018; Dean's Award for Best Thesis, Faculty of Science)
" 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; recommended for Best Thesis award, Faculty of Science)

" 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)



My Grants


Golebiowski B, Stapleton F, Madigan M, Willcox M, Sullivan DAS. Do sex steroids regulate tear lipid production in human meibomian glands? ARC Discovery Project 2019-2023.

Maseedupally V, Golebiowski B, Keay L, Watt K, Chao C. UNSW Optometry and Vision Science enhancing partnerships with India, China and Taiwan." UNSW Science Faculty International Seed Funding 2019.

Golebiowski B, Tan-Showyin J, Kang P, Jalbert I, Stapleton F, Boon MY, Swarbrick H, Madigan M, Kim J, Arthur P, Dutta D, Carnt N, Hui A, Pye D, Roy M. Anterior Eye Assessment Suite. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme 2019.

Golebiowski B. Providing access to eye care for asylum seekers in the community in Sydney. AMP Tomorrow Fund 2019-2020.

Stapleton F, Golebiowski B, Sullivan DAS, Willcox M, Dear R. Modulation of oestrogen at the ocular surface and the effect on meibomian glands, tear lipids and dry eye. UNSW Goldstar Award 2018.


My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

Honours, ILP, Masters, PhD

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School of Optometry and Vision Science
Rupert Myers Building


Dry Eye: Sex, Gender and Hormones
Eye care for asylum seekers