Science

Astronauts Are More Likely To Have Eye Problems Due To Too Much Space Travel

By Monica U Santos , Dec 01, 2016 06:22 AM EST
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It is a fact that all astronauts are experiencing blurry vision after long space travels or space flights. This is because of the changes their bodies undergo from space going back to the Earth and vice versa. According to a new study, commissioned to investigate complaints from cosmonauts about impaired eyesight, has revealed that microgravity could be causing erratic movement of the spinal fluid resulting in deteriorated vision.

Astronauts Are More Likely To Have Eye Problems Due To Too Much Space Travel

Scientists have long suspected astronauts who are sent on long duration space missions could go blind by the time they reach the planet. According to the official statistics, nearly two-thirds of astronauts who have gone on long-duration space missions have returned with one of the many eye problems. While a majority of the spacemen complained of blurry vision, there were cases of flattened eyeballs and inflamed optic nerves.

According to Digital Camera Planet Blog, the visual impairments are a cause of great concern since eyesight is one of the most crucial senses that astronauts have to rely on. Losing the ability to see for the space travelers could be disastrous in the vast emptiness of space, where there is no hospital to remedy the situation before it causes long-term and permanent damage. If ever, first aid kit are the only available.

“People initially didn't know what to make of it, and by 2010 there was growing concern as it became apparent that some of the astronauts had severe structural changes that were not fully reversible upon return to earth,” notes Dr. Noam Alperin, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, in Florida.

Alperin suspected that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was less able to adjust to the microgravity of space, as per The Washington Post. So, they performed high-resolution brain scans on seven astronauts shortly before and shortly after their long-duration to space. CSF is the clear liquid that floats around the brain and spine. It helps to deliver nutrients, remove waste products and cushion the nervous system from harm.

“The research provides, for the first time, quantitative evidence obtained from short- and long-duration astronauts pointing to the primary and direct role of the CSF in the globe deformations seen in astronauts with visual impairment syndrome,” Alperin said in a statement.

The Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear, colorless body fluid found in the brain and spine. It is produced in the choroid plexuses of the ventricles of the brain. It acts as a cushion or buffer for the brain's cortex, providing basic mechanical and immunological protection to the brain inside the skull. The CSF also serves a vital function in cerebral autoregulation of cerebral blood flow.

 

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