Dr Sheela Kumaran

Dr Sheela Kumaran


2020         PhD (Public Health), Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

2011         M Phil. Optometry, Elite School of Optometry, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India.

2009         B S Optometry, Elite School of Optometry, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India.


2015     Fellowship in British Dispensing Optics (O/S), UK


2022 -  Member, International Society for Quality of Life Research

2021 -  Member, Age and Ageing Clinical Academic Group, Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise

2021 -  Proxy, Vision 2020 Australia Global Committee

2021 -  Member, UNSW, Ageing Futures Institute

2017 -  Member in training, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Medicine & Health
School of Optometry and Vision Science

Dr Sheela Kumaran is a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney, with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Optometry and a PhD in Public Health. She has extensive experience in clinical low vision practice and teaching. Her research primarily focuses on voicing the patient’s perspective of vision-related quality of life impacts of various eye conditions and their real-world implications as well as orchestrating reliable measurement of latent traits using advanced psychometric techniques and computer adaptive testing systems. She has a special interest in improving outcomes for older adults with visual impairment and has contributed to the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission reports from a health economic perspective. She is currently leading research funded by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, investigating the impacts of age-related macular degeneration on quality of life and developing new programs of health systems and outcomes research together with national and international collaborators.

Research grants:

  1. Piers Dawes, Nancy Pachana, Iracema Leroi, Lisa Keay, Hamid Sohrabi, Yuanyaun Gu, Angelita Martini, Marianne Coleman, Carly Meyer, Chyrisse Heine, Sheela Kumaran, John Newall, Brenda Gannon, Sabrina Lenzen, Judy Lowthian, ‘Home hearing and vision care to improve quality of life for people with dementia and carers’, 2022 MRFF Dementia Ageing and Aged Care Mission, $1,361,892, 2023-2026
  2. Lisa Keay, Konrad Pesudovs, Sheela Kumaran, Macular Disease Social Impact Study, Macular Disease Foundation Australia, $127,143, 2022-2024
  3. Sheela Kumaran, Konrad Pesudovs, Lisa Keay, Gerald Liew, Measuring the breadth and the depth of the quality-of-life impacts of age-related macular degeneration, The Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant, $49,674, 2021-2023

Competitive Education Funding

  1. The Australian government research training program scholarship [International postgraduate research scholarship (IPRS)], $130,864, 2016-2020
  2. Australian Postgraduate Award (Full-time), $26,288 per annum indexed annually, 2016 – 2019
  3. ‘Best research project’ scholarship, One sight Foundation, Luxottica, USA, INR100,000, 2011
  4. Johnson & Johnson contact lens scholarship award, INR 15,000, 2007-2008

Other grants:

  1. Travel grant, The association for research in vision and ophthalmology (ARVO),  USD 1100, 2018
  2. Flinders University Student Association (FUSA) development grant, AUD 800, 2017
  3. Travel Grant, ARVO – Asia, 2017

Academic awards

Academic excellence (postgraduate research) international students award from His Excellency, the Governor of South Australia, Study Adelaide, Australia, 2019

The Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, 2016

Australian Postgraduate Award, 2016

Research higher degree student publication award (AUD 500), Flinders University, 2019

Research higher degree student publication award (AUD 400), Flinders University, 2017

Sri R Sivaraman memorial endowment prize for the ‘Best Research Project’, 2011

Luxottica excellence award for ‘Research Methodology’, 2011

Best scientific presentation in ‘Low vision’ in ESO International Vision Science and Optometry Conference, 2010

Sri V Venugopal memorial prize for ‘Best outgoing student 2009’ (along with 10 other awards)

University Service

2021 -                   Member, UNSW Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel – D Biomedical

2020-2021            Steering committee member, Grad diploma Orientation and Mobility Course

Journal reviewer

12 journals including Optometry and Vision Science, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, Ocular Surface, Ophthalmic Epidemiology


  1. Hutchinson C, Ratcliffe J, Crocker M, Kumaran SE, Milte R and Khadka J, “Knowledge is everything?” How well do the general public understand aged care and how does this affect their attitudes towards quality of care and future funding? Ageing & Society. 2021 Oct 20:1-23.
  2. Kumaran SE, Rakshit A, Hussaindeen JR, Khadka J & Pesudovs K. Does non-strabismic amblyopia affect the quality of life of adults? Findings from a qualitative study. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2021; 41: 996-1006.
  3. Ratcliffe J, Khadka J, Kumaran S & Kaambwa B. What price quality in aged care? Findings from a national survey of more than 6500 income taxpayers. Med J Aust 2021; 215: 307-310.e301.
  4. Feo R, Kumaran S, Conroy T, Heuzenroeder L & Kitson A. An evaluation of instruments measuring behavioural aspects of the nurse-patient relationship. Nurs Inq 2021: e12425.
  5. Kumaran SE, Khadka J, Baker R and Pesudovs K, ‘Functional limitations recognised by adults with amblyopia and strabismus in daily life: a qualitative exploration.’ Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2019 May; 39(3): 131-140.
  6. Gopalakrishnan S, Venugopal D, Sailaja MVS, Kumaran SE, Ramani KK. Barriers and enablers to low vision care services in a tertiary eye care hospital: A mixed method study. Indian journal of ophthalmology. 2019 Apr;67(4):536-40.
  7. Kumaran SE, Khadka J, Baker R and Pesudovs K, ‘Patient reported outcome measures in amblyopia and strabismus – a systematic review’. Clin Exp Optom. 2018 Jul;101(4):460-484
  8. Kumaran SE, Balasubramaniam SM, Kumar DS, and Krishna Kumar R ‘Refractive Error and Vision-Related Quality of Life in South Indian Children’. Optom Vis Sci. 2015 Mar; 92(3):272-8.
  9. Kumar DS, Balasubramaniam SM, Kumaran SE and Krishna Kumar R ‘Parents’ Awareness and Perception of Children’s Eye Diseases in Chennai, India’. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 Dec; 90(12):1462-6.
  10. Balasubramaniam SM, Kumar DS, Kumaran SE and Ramani KK ‘Factors affecting eye care-seeking behavior of parents for their children’. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 Oct; 90(10):1138-42

Scientific reports

  1. Ratcliffe J, Chen G, Khadka J, Kumaran S, Hutchinson C, Milte R, Savvas S, Batchelor F (2020). Australia’s aged care system: the quality of care experience and community expectations. Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University, South Australia.
  2. Khadka J, Ratcliffe J, Chen G, Kumaran S, Milte R, Hutchinson C, Milte R, Savvas S, Batchelor F (2020). A new measure of quality of care experience in aged care: psychometric assessment and validation of the Quality of Care Experience (QCE) questionnaire. Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University, South Australia. 
  3. Noone, J., Writer, T., Kumaran, S.E., Ly, A., & Keay, L. (2020). Macular Disease Foundation of Australia Social Impact Survey: Baseline report. Sydney: Centre for Social Impact.