Common Eye Problems in Astronauts

Bigstock Astronaut in outer space again 85116506

Every dreamed of being an astronaut? A childhood dream for some, but with all dreams there is a price tag to pay. With extensive training and schooling, astronauts give there mind, body and soul to space. Study’s now show that astronauts living in space can be doomed with health issues, some of which are eye problems. Check out this article by DiscoveryNews.com

Astronauts who spent more than a total of a month in space experienced a variety of issues in the optic nerve and eyeball.

Astronauts who spend a month or more in space commonly experience eye problems. This could become a serious issue during a longer mission to Mars. Brain and eye problems have surfaced in astronauts who spent more than a month in space, marking a potential setback to plans for longer deep space missions, according to a study. The research in the journal Radiology analyzed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 27 astronauts with an average of 108 days in space, either on space shuttle missions or aboard the International Space Station. Shuttle missions typically lasted a couple of weeks, while ISS stints can last more than six months. A Mars mission to bring astronauts to the red planet in the coming decades could last a year and a half.

Among the astronauts who spent more than a month in space over their lifetimes, researchers found a variety of complications that appear similar to a syndrome caused by unexplained pressure on the brain. These symptoms included excess cerebral-spinal fluid around the optic nerve in 33 percent of the astronauts studied and flattening of the back of the eyeball in 22 percent of them. Fifteen percent had a bulging optic nerve and 11 percent showed changes to the pituitary gland — which is located between the optic nerves, secreting sex hormones and regulating the thyroid — and its connection to the brain.

Similar effects, which can lead to problems with vision, have been observed in non-space travelers who suffer from unexplained pressure buildup in the brain, a condition known as intracranial hypertension.

“Microgravity-induced intracranial hypertension represents a hypothetical risk factor and a potential limitation to long-duration space travel,” said lead author Larry Kramer, professor of diagnostic and interventional imaging at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

“The MRI findings revealed various combinations of abnormalities following both short- and long-term cumulative exposure to microgravity also seen with idiopathic intracranial hypertension.”

While bone loss and temporary muscular aches and nerve abnormalities have been known to afflict astronauts in the past, the new data on eye problems has many at NASA concerned about the health of its spaceflight corps.

“NASA has placed this problem high on its list of human risks, has initiated a comprehensive program to study its mechanisms and implications, and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” said William Tarver, chief of the flight medicine clinic at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

He said the findings are suspicious but not conclusive of intracranial hypertension, and said no astronauts have been rendered ineligible for future spaceflight as a result of the findings.

Important Safety Information

The Visian ICL is intended for the correction of moderate to high nearsightedness. Visian ICL and Visian TICL surgery is intended to safely and effectively correct nearsightedness between -3.0 D to -15.0 D, the reduction in nearsightedness up to -20.0 D and treatment of astigmatism from 1.0 D to 4.0 D. If you have nearsightedness within these ranges, Visian ICL surgery may improve your distance vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Because the Visian ICL corrects for distance vision, it does not eliminate the need for reading glasses, you may require them at some point, even if you have never worn them before.

Implantation of the Visian ICL is a surgical procedure, and as such, carries potentially serious risks. Please discuss the risks with your eye care professional. Complications, although rare, may include need for additional surgical procedures, inflammation, loss of cells from the back surface of the cornea, increase in eye pressure, and cataracts.

You should NOT have Visian ICL surgery if:

  • Your doctor determines that the shape of your eye is not an appropriate fit for the Visian ICL
  • You are pregnant or nursing
  • You do not meet the minimum endothelial cell density for your age at the time of implantation as determined by your eye doctor
  • Your vision is not stable as determined by your eye doctor

Before considering Visian ICL surgery you should have a complete eye examination and talk with your eye care professional about Visian ICL surgery, especially the potential benefits, risks, and complications. You should discuss the time needed for healing after surgery. For additional information with potential benefits, risks and complications please visit DiscoverICL.com

References

References

1Visian ICL Patient Information Booklet

2Sanders D. Vukich JA. Comparison of implantable collamer lens (ICL) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) for Low Myopia. Cornea. 2006 Dec; 25(10):1139-46.

3Naves, J.S. Carracedo, G. Cacho-Babillo, I. Diadenosine Nucleotid Measurements as Dry-Eye Score in Patients After LASIK and ICL Surgery. Presented at American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2012.

4Shoja, MR. Besharati, MR. Dry eye after LASIK for myopia: Incidence and risk factors. European Journal of Ophthalmology. 2007; 17(1): pp. 1-6.

5Lee, Jae Bum et al. Comparison of tear secretion and tear film instability after photorefractive keratectomy and laser in situ keratomileusis. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery , Volume 26 , Issue 9 , 1326 - 1331.

6Parkhurst, G. Psolka, M. Kezirian, G. Phakic intraocular lens implantantion in United States military warfighters: A retrospective analysis of early clinical outcomes of the Visian ICL. J Refract Surg. 2011;27(7):473-481.

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