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Ocular changes in space may be influenced by an astronaut's weight

New research suggests that body mass can affect an individual’s risk for developing space-flight associated neuro-ocular syndrome


An astronaut’s weight may affect their chances of developing problems with their eyes during spaceflight.

New research, which was published in the American Journal of Physiology, examined data collected by NASA from astronauts who had made long-duration space flights averaging 165 days.

Information gathered included the astronauts’ gender and pre-flight height, weight, waist and chest size, as well as data about post-flight eye changes.

The scientists found that astronauts with higher weight, waist and chest circumference measurements were more likely to develop disc oedema or choroidal folds.

The study authors emphasised: “The results from this study show a strong relationship between body weight and the development of ocular changes in space.” 

Heidelberg Engineering recently announced that the next generation of its Spectralis ocular coherence tomography device will be installed at the International Space Station later this year.

NASA researchers have used the technology to investigate the effects of a microgravity environment on vision since 2013.