The National Space and Biomedical Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine strives to help develop medical tools and countermeasures for health-related problems astronauts experience in space.
In the past, the NSBRI has worked with companies to develop a number of medical products that can be used in space and also on Earth. Now, the organization is working on a project called Vision for Mars Challenge.
Vision for Mars Challenge will focus on identifying and developing diagnostic tools that can be used in space to understand visual impairment that many astronauts experience during long-duration flights.
“After long periods in space, many astronauts experience changes,” said Dr. Ben Frankfort, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine. “These changes range from mild disturbances that can be corrected with glasses to moderate alterations in the physical structure of the eye that are more difficult to correct and can potentially be permanent.”
NSBRI is looking to partner with ophthalmology industry leaders as a way to find and/or help further develop these needed diagnostic tools, so visual changes in space can be understood.
Although these changes are believed to be associated with the increase of brain pressure, it is unknown if it is the cause of visual problems in space, said Dr. Dorit Donoviel, deputy chief scientist at NSBRI and assistant professor in the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor.
Click below to hear Donoviel further explain the importance of ophthalmology diagnostics for space travel on the Ophthalmology Innovation Podcast.