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Could wearing swim goggles in space ward off eye problems?

A preliminary trial has found that wearing goggles may be an option for alleviating ocular changes experienced during space travel

19 Apr 2019 by Selina Powell

Scientists are investigating whether swimming goggles could be used to counteract the development of eye problems associated with long periods of space travel. 

Space travel has been linked with spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome, which can present as globe flattening, choroidal folds, optic disc oedema and a hyperopic visual shift.

A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology described an experiment where 20 men completed exercises over three days while on their back or titled back head-first to simulate the conditions experienced in space.

Half of the study group participants wore swimming goggles during the exercises.

Researchers found that exercise was associated with decreases in pressure in the eye, while wearing swimming goggles was linked to a modest increase in pressure – which could help to reduce the adverse effects of space travel on the eye.

The study team note that the findings need to be repeated during spaceflight to confirm that wearing swimming goggles is a safe and effective way of increasing eye pressure.

Image credit: Public Domain Pictures

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