Do astronauts see 20/20 in space?


Do astronauts see 20/20 in space?

Press release from: Israel Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Posted: Tuesday April 19th 2022

Space researchers hope after conducting Israel’s first biomedical research on the International Space Station that vision won’t deteriorate during short spaceflights

One of the most innovative technology assessments this week at the International Space Station could be of interest to us here on Earth. This is a digital vision test via tablet/mobile phone that diagnoses our visual acuity without the need for an eye exam. The visual acuity study is the first Israeli research conducted by Eytan Stibbe, a private astronaut in space, as part of the Rakia space project. The first phase of the study was conducted after arriving at the International Space Station on the Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft was launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. The vision test was carried out several times during the space mission and towards the end of the space mission, led by three Israeli researchers, Dr. Eran Schenker, Professor Uri Polat and Professor Yossi Mendel.

Prolonged exposure to microgravity conditions during space missions can impair vision; symptoms reported by astronauts who have been in space include decreased vision, changes in the optic nerve, retina, and a difference in retinal error.

The study was supervised at the Rakia Ground Control Center by Professor Uri Polat, Director of the School of Optometry and Visual Sciences, Professor Yossi Mandel, Director of the Scientific and Ophthalmological Engineering Laboratory of the Bar-Ilan University, and Dr. Eran Schenker, medical director of the Israel Institute of Aerospace Medicine.

Professor Uri Polat of Bar-Ilan University said: “I have to say that after a year of demanding work and endless meetings with space agency officers, representatives of SpaceX and the Axiom team for s Sitting in the space mission control center on the ground, connected to the space station and waiting for confirmation that the study has been completed is very exciting.”

Professor Yossi Mandel added: “While overseeing the study in ground control, an astronaut conducts the first Israeli research in the field of view on the International Space Station, is a dream come true and a breakthrough for many. many other medical studies in the future.”

For Dr. Eran Schenker, this is not the first space mission. As a space doctor, he has studied a variety of biological phenomena in space over the past 25 years. Dr. Schenker explains: “The last time vital signs and physiological parameters were taken from an Israeli in space was during the Columbia mission from the late Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut. It took more than five years before Israeli researchers were once again sent into space with Israeli technology coordinated by the Israel Aerospace Medicine Institute (IAMI). The IAMI was able to initiate studies on all of NASA’s space shuttles at the time. With SpaceX technology and the Axiom-1 mission, more than 30 studies launched to the space station and completed by Ethan Stebba”.

“I have no doubt that the space studies of the mission will contribute greatly to the understanding of visual functions in weightlessness conditions and will greatly help in planning long-term space missions to the Moon and further to Mars,” concludes Dr. Schenker, the Israeli space doctor.

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