Everyone is talking about sending a manned mission to Mars or even having people live there. It sounds exciting but there are many issues to be worked out and one of them is making sure your vision will be stable! File this information under, “Great Party Conversation” or “Trivial Pursuit”.
Vision change occurs for about 35% of astronauts who spend long periods of time in space. Now that we are sending men and women up to the International Space Station for months at a time, NASA is finding that some astronauts experience vision changes while in space that do not always self-correct when back on Earth, at least not right away.
Blurred vision and blind spots are caused by swelling in the optic nerve, and seems to be related to pressure and gravity changes but nobody knows exactly why. Researchers are currently working with astronauts to get to the core of the problem. If left untreated due to spending too long in space, this could lead to blindness.
A test called ocular coherence tomography (which we have here at Milwaukee Eye Care) helps map astronauts eyes before and after their time in space in order to view changes in the eye’s anatomy. It is pretty cool to think that we are using some of the same technology here that NASA uses!
Written by Paula Wadsworth, Surgical Coordinator and Tech, Milwaukee Eye Care