Soumen Sadhu
PhD Candidate

Soumen Sadhu

Research title: Characteristics of ocular surface immune cells in dry eye disease of various sub-types

Supervisor: Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton

Co-supervisors: Associate Professor Blanka Golebiowski, Professor Isabelle Jalbert

Research Abstract

Dry eye disease (DED) is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface. It is often symptomatic and chronic in nature and has a significant impact on day-to-day quality of life. Altered tear homeostasis leads to an increase in tear osmolarity and a host of changes in the ocular surface microenvironment include those related to inflammation.

The immune system plays a major role in DED pathogenesis. It contributes to the severity of ocular surface inflammation. An increased levels of tear cytokines, chemokines and recruitment of pro-inflammatory cells, activation of antigen presenting cells (APC’s) – dendritic cells (DC’s), macrophages and B lymphocytes all plays a central role in DED pathogenesis. The APC’s plays major role in stimulating the innate and adaptive immune responses.

In-vivo confocal bio-microscopy (IVCM) is widely used to examine corneal and conjunctival structures, their epithelial cells, sub-basal nerves, and various other inflammatory cells such as DC’s.

With the help of IVCM, previous studies have shown an increase infiltration of dendritic cells and macrophages secondary to desiccating stress in various forms of dry eye. Neurosensory abnormalities such as decreased nerve density, number and length of corneal nerves has also been observed in dry eye patients. It is evident from these studies that central corneal DC density, DC size, DC dendrites and DC field were increased more in dry eye associated with Sjogren’s syndrome than non-Sjogren’s dry eye.

At present the literature is limited on the understanding of immune cells in healthy and in various ocular surface pathologies. The immunopathogenesis of DED is yet to be understood in detail.

Understanding the immune response will help to differentiate normal and diseased eyes and also identifying early and pre-clinical disease states. This can help in modifying treatment algorithms such as initiation of immuno-modulators and development of more target specific drugs.

The project aim to investigate the ocular surface immune response in DED of various severities and subtypes, and the effect of therapeutic intervention on ocular surface DC’s.


Soumen Sadhu, is an Optometrist, who holds a Master of Optometry degree from the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai India. In 2016, he earned his bachelor's degree in optometry from West Bengal University of Technology, India. After receiving his master's degree, he spent two years working as a clinical and research optometrist at Sankara Nethralaya in India.

He has keen interests in ocular surface disorders and has experience in diagnosing and managing corneal ectatic conditions, infections, investigating cases related to autoimmune and collagen vascular diseases like dry eyes, ocular cicatrical pemphigoid, peripheral corneal ulcers and uveitis. Additionally, he is knowledgeable on the fitting of specialised contact lenses for treating ocular surface disorders. He has several peer-reviewed publications at international journals.

In 2023, he has obtained the University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA) scholarship from UNSW to undertake a PhD in optometry. His PhD project is to understand the ocular surface immune response in dry eye disease.


2023- Present - Ph.D. student in Optometry at University of New South Wales, Australia

2021- Master of Optometry from The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India

2016 – Bachelor’s in optometry from West Bengal University of Technology, NSHM Knowledge Camus, India

Conference attendance

1)      2022: “India Vision Institute”- Eye health In A Changing World Optometry conference

2)      2021: 19th Dr E Vaithilingam Memorial Scientific Session

3)      2021: The 2nd dr. rajeswari mahadevan memorial scientific session

4)      2021: 19th Dr E Vaithilingam Memorial Scientific Session

5)      2020: “India Vision Institute- Eye health In A Changing World – an International Virtual Conference and Trade Fair- - 2020”

6)      2020: American Academy of Optometry (Academy at home Virtual meeting) annual meeting

7)      2020: The Contact Lens and imaging symposium, Narayana Nethralaya, India

8)      2019: The 26th Indian Eye Research Group Meeting - ARVO-INDIA chapter (IERG-ARO-IC), Chennai, India

9)      2019: The 3rd Annual Conference of Society of Inflammation Research (SIRCON), Chennai, India

10)   2017: 2nd  World Congress of Optometry Conference- 2017 (WOC-2017), Hyderabad


University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA) - for Ph.D. Optometry by University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia - 2023

Best Oral Presentation Award - 2022: “India Vision Institute”- Eye health In A Changing World Optometry conference

Best Photography Award – 2021: 2nd Rajeswari Mahadevan memorial scientific session

Affiliations and memberships

Fellow of American Academy of Optometry (FAAO)

Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia



  • Agarwal, Manokamna; Srinivasan, Bhaskar; Agarwal, Shweta; Pandey, Sunita; Kumar, Shobha P S1; Sadhu, Soumen1; Saranya, S1; Iyer, Geetha. Aqueous deficiency dry eye in post conjunctivitis cicatrization - Effect of deep thermal punctal cautery. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology 71(4):p 1630-1637, April 2023.

    Sadhu S, Balaji JJ, Srinivasan B. A comprehensive ocular profile using multimodal imaging systems and surgical outcome in a patient with Alport syndrome. Oman J Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec 26;16(1):182-184.

    Dutta R, Sadhu S, Biswas J. The Ocular manifestations of Novel Coronavirus- A Literature Review. Indian Journal of Inflammation Research. Nov 2022.

    Sadhu S, Dutta Majumder P, Shah M, George R. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease in Pre-school Children. Ocular Immunology and Inflammation. 2022 Sep 10:1-4.

    Panjiyar M, Sadhu S, Shobha P, et al. Structural and functional evaluation of Meibomian glands and its Correlation with Dry Eye Parameters in Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol. Published online March 11, 2022.

    Sadhu S, Balaji JJ, Srinivasan B. Capsular Bag Distention Syndrome after 9 years of Cataract Surgery. Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 Sep

    Sadhu S, Tathikonda D, Biswas J. Biologicals In Uveitis- A book chapter, Society of Inflammation research (date realeased 01.09.2021)

    Sadhu S, Majumder PD, Biswas J. Biological therapy in refractory cases of uveitis and scleritis: An analysis of 18 cases from a tertiary eye care center from South India. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2020;17(1)

    Sitaula RK, Khatri A, Janani MK, Mandage R, Sadhu S, Madhavan HN, et al. Unfolding covid-19: Lessons-in-learning in ophthalmology. Clin Ophthalmol. 2020;14(September):2807–20..

    Sadhu S, Agrawal R, Pyare R, Pavesio C, Zierhut M, Khatri A, et al. COVID-19: Limiting the Risks for Eye Care Professionals. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2020;28(5):714–20.