CLEAR LAKE — Imagine going into space and not being able to enjoy the view.
“We have discovered that some astronauts on orbit have real changes in fluid shifts in their bodies and that leads them to have changes in their vision and changes in pressure in the central nervous system,” said Julie Robinson, an International Space Station program scientist. “About 20 percent of the astronauts who have flown to the International Space Station have reported vision changes.”
Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk was one of them. He went to the space station in 2007.
“After a few weeks aboard, I noticed that my visual acuity had changed,” he said. “My distant vision was not too bad, but I found that it was more difficult to read procedures. I also had trouble manually focusing cameras, so I would ask a crewmate to verify my focus setting on critical experiments.”
In an effort to better understand why astronauts have endured vision problems, when the Expedition 35 crew goes onboard the space station, it will take part in a study that might provide some answers.
“We’re going to take detailed measurements (of their eyes) to really try to understand this process for the first time,” Robinson said.
The information could be useful on Earth, too.
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