Xiao (Nicole) Liu

Xiao (Nicole) Liu

Postgraduate Research Student
School of Optometry and Vision Science

PhD Candidate

Research Title: Risk factors on circadian rhythms for myopia onset and progression

Supervisors: Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg and Dr Thomas John Naduvilath

Email: xiao.liu1@student.unsw.edu.au

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-liu-7964ba5a

Risk factors on circadian rhythms for myopia onset and progression

PhD Candidate: Nicole Xiao Liu

Supervisors: Prof. Padmaja R Sankaridurg and Dr Thomas John Naduvilath


Myopia, also known as ‘short-sightedness’ or ‘near-sightedness’, is projected to affect half of the world’s population by 2050. To date, the aetiology of myopia remains an unsolved puzzle. Environmental influences have been found to play a crucial role in myopia development. My study will evaluate these influences with an emphasis on factors that can disturb circadian rhythms. Evidences suggest a complex relationship between systemic and ocular diurnal rhythms and myopia development. On the one hand, circadian disturbance has been reported amongst myopic patients in a number of studies. Compared to non-myopes, myopes were found to have higher serum concentration of melatonin in the morning, shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality. Furthermore interestingly, seasonal variations in myopia progression have been reported among different ethnic groups and geographic locations. Meanwhile, animal studies looking at diurnal rhythms of ocular parameters and their relationship with refractive error changes proposed an association between myopia development and ocular rhythm dysregulation. In fact, several ocular biometric parameters, such as intraocular pressure, choroidal thickness and axial length, were found to exhibit diurnal rhythms in human eyes. In order to clarify this complex relationship, my thesis aims to look into risk factors that are related to systemic or ocular diurnal rhythms and their associations with myopia.


Nicole received her Bachelor of Clinical Medicine (Optometry and Ophthalmology) from Tianjin Medical University in China. She then obtained her Master of Optometry degree in 2012 at School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW. Since then she has been involved in clinical research and public health projects at Brien Holden Vision Institute. Her PhD journey commenced in March 2018, for which she has been awarded the inaugural Dr David Wilson Memorial Scholarship.


2010 - 2012 Master of Optometry - School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Australia

2004 - 2009 Bachelor of Clinical Medicine (Optometry & Ophthalmology) - Tianjin Medical University, China


Dr David Wilson Memorial Scholarship for higher degree education