Azadeh Tavakoli

Azadeh Tavakoli

Postgraduate Research Student
School of Optometry and Vision Science

PhD Candidate

Research Title: The impact of probiotics and prebiotics on dry eye disease

Supervisors: Associate Professor Maria Markoulli, Adjunct Associate Professor Judith Flanagan and Professor Eric Papas



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Dry eye affects millions of people throughout the world. Dry eye disease has a direct effect on the quantity and/or quality of the tear film layer and can lead to ocular discomfort, visual disturbance, tear film instability and ocular surface inflammation. In addition, it can contribute to a decrease in quality of life and, because of its high prevalence, it is a critical public health issue.

Recent studies have shown that there is a link between the systemic immune system and dry eye disease. Additionally, in the last few years there has been a vast number of peer-reviewed literature outlining the association of the gut microbiome with systemic inflammation in disease states such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, dermatitis and others, and the efficacy of probiotics and their combination with prebiotics in the modulation of the immune system.

Hence, the aim of this double-masked, randomized-controlled clinical research is to investigate the potential of oral probiotics and prebiotics in reducing the severity of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease through a reduction in systemic and localised (ocular) immune function modulation.


Azadeh is a PhD candidate. Her research interests are to characterise the impact of commensal human bacteria on the treatment of ocular inflammatory diseases. Her study aims to look at the effect of oral supplements (Probiotics and Prebiotics) on the symptoms of dry eye disease.

Before commencing her education at the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science, she worked as an Optometrist and Technical In-Charge holder's of Medical Glasses in Basir Eye Centre, Abu- Abdullah Clinic and optometry office in Iran.


PhD student at UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science, 2018- current

BOptom, Iran 2010.


Journal Articles

  1. Tavakoli, A.; Flanagan, J.L. The Case for a More Holistic Approach to Dry Eye Disease: Is It Time to Move beyond Antibiotics? Antibiotics 2019, 8, 88.
  2. Relationship between central corneal thickness, intra ocular pressure and visual field in normal tension and primary open angle glaucoma, J Gorgan Univ Med Sci 2012, 14(2): 70-75

Conference Presentations

  1. Tavakoli A, Markoulli M, Flanagan J, Papas E. Measurement Repeatability of Two Point-of-Care Tear Film Osmometers. AAO conference, 2020.


Dorothy Carlborg CCLSA Research Award, 2019

TFS scholarship from University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia to study towards PhD,2019

Top educational grade, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, 2009


Member, American Academy of Optometry (AAO)

Member, Association of Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO)

Member, British Contact Lens Association (BCLA)

Member of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA)

Membership of Fars Optometry Association, Shiraz, Iran.