How does your vision change in space?

NASA is investigating how low gravity affects the vision of their astronauts.

Spending extended time in microgravity environments can lead to swelling of the optic nerve and a far-sighted shift. These problems may not be merely temporary, chronic optic nerve swelling can cause permanent damage.

During their six-month stay on the international space station astronauts have retinal photographs and ultrasounds taken to determine the extent of vision problems. Full pre- and post-flight eye exams are also performed.

A survey conducted by NASA in 2011 found that 60% of station astronauts and 29% of astronauts working in shuttles reported a decline in near and distant vision clarity. These results have prompted increased research into the long-term effects of low gravity on the eyes.

NASA sends glasses stronger than their regular prescription with astronauts in anticipation of expected vision changes. In addition, astronauts are given Superfocus glasses, which have an adjustable focus feature to ensure vision problems will not interfere with their work.

Further information: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/Astronaut_Vision.html

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