20.09.2018

Higher Weight Increases Likelihood Astronauts Develop Eye Issues

A study out of Dartmouth University suggests that there’s a direct correlation between an astronaut’s weight and his/her chances of developing a serious eye disorder. Researchers hope this study will help eye doctors better prevent eye disorders related to microgravity in the future.

For this study, investigators looked at health records from NASA astronauts who went into space for an average of 165 days. In addition to their pre- and post-flight eye health, researchers had access to every study participant’s weight, height, and gender.

In their report, scientists pointed out that the heavier astronauts had a higher chance of developing eye disorders like disc edema. Study authors also wrote that participants with higher waist and chest circumference numbers had the greatest risk for getting these disorders.

According to their findings, researchers conclude that weight has a direct correlation to an astronaut’s likelihood of developing eye disorders. In future studies, scientists hope to better understand why microgravity has this adverse effect on certain astronauts’ eyes.

To help better understand these eye conditions, the company Heidelberg Engineering has agreed to put a special ocular coherence tomography machine in the International Space Station. Called Spectralis, Heidelberg Engineering executives said they will put this device in the space station at the end of 2018.

Dr. Jay C. Buckey, who teaches at the Dartmouth Medical School, was the head author on this study. A few other Dartmouth professors involved in this project include Drs. Scott D. Phillips, Allison P. Anderson, and Ariane B. Chepko.

People interested in this research should take a look at the American Journal of Physiology. Study authors published this study under the title, “Microgravity-induced ocular changes are related to body weight.”


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