This is how astronauts' eyes change after a year in space

 NASA researchers diagnosed Spaceflight-Associated Neuroocular Syndrome (SANS); What is it about


Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko both spent a year aboard the ISS POT

Astudy determined that the eyes of astronauts who make long-term trips can suffer a series of damages and "structural changes" grouped together in a diagnosis known as Spaceflight Neuroocular Syndrome (SANS).


The work published in the ophthalmology section of the American Medical Association revealed the eye changes suffered by Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko , two astronauts who spent 340 days on the International Space Station between 2015 and 2016.

“Of two of the crew members on a year-long mission, one developed mild optic disc swelling after 270 days of space flight. In the other crew member, the edema of the optic disc and the choroidal folds progressively worsened during the mission, ” says the study.

Scott kelly
Scott kellyBBC

The eye problems they suffer after a space flight are not new and they were already known as Visual Impairment and Intracranial Pressure Syndrome, or VIIP, according to the newspaper As . But now researchers speak of spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS), a set of symptoms suffered by a large percentage of astronauts who spend several months in space and which cause damage to the retina whose extent is still unknown .

The researchers noticed multiple structural changes in the astronauts' eyes as they spent more time in space. In the case of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, both suffered mild edema of the optimal disc, something that recovers quickly, while one of them also developed "progressive choroidal folds", a damage that is not usually fully recovered .


According to the article signed by Brandon R. Macias , director of the Cardiovascular and Ocular Laboratory of NASA, the data suggests that the ocular structural changes suffered by astronauts depend on the duration of space flight.

“However, it is still necessary to identify the factors that contribute to the variable presentation of ocular findings. Research with more participants in one-year missions is needed to confirm the localized findings presented here, ”he concludes.



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