July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Anterior and posterior ocular structures change during long-duration spaceflight and one year after landing
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brandon Macias
    KBRwyle, NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Nimesh B Patel
    University of Houston College of Optometry, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Charles R Gibson
    Coastal Eye Associates, Webster, Texas, United States
  • Brian C Samuels
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Texas, United States
  • Stuart Lee
    KBRwyle, NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Robert Ploutz-Snyder
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Texas, United States
  • Ashot Sargsyan
    KBRwyle, NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • David Alexander
    NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Roy Riascos
    UTHealth, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Larry Kramer
    UTHealth, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Steven Laurie
    KBRwyle, NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Thomas Mader
    COL (R) US Army, Cooper Landing, Alaska, United States
  • Tyson Brunstetter
    NASA-JSC, CAPT US Navy, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Christian Otto
    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, United States
  • Michael B Stenger
    NASA-JSC, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Brandon Macias, None; Nimesh Patel, None; Charles Gibson, None; Brian Samuels, None; Stuart Lee, None; Robert Ploutz-Snyder, None; Ashot Sargsyan, None; David Alexander, None; Roy Riascos, None; Larry Kramer, None; Steven Laurie, None; Thomas Mader, None; Tyson Brunstetter, None; Christian Otto, None; Michael Stenger, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NASA Human Research Program
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 722. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Brandon Macias, Nimesh B Patel, Charles R Gibson, Brian C Samuels, Stuart Lee, Robert Ploutz-Snyder, Ashot Sargsyan, David Alexander, Roy Riascos, Larry Kramer, Steven Laurie, Thomas Mader, Tyson Brunstetter, Christian Otto, Michael B Stenger; Anterior and posterior ocular structures change during long-duration spaceflight and one year after landing. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):722.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) is reported to affect ~40% of astronauts on long-duration spaceflights (as of May 2017) as assessed by one or more findings: optic disc edema, hyperopic shifts, globe flattening, cotton-wool spots, or choroidal folds. The purpose of this study was to quantify morphologic change of the optic nerve head (ONH), peripapillary choroid thickness, axial length, and anterior chamber depth (ACD), which are variables hypothesized to be associated with SANS during long-duration International Space Station (ISS) missions.

Methods : Eleven long-duration (170 ± 19 d) ISS astronauts participated in testing before, during, and up to 1 year after spaceflight. Preflight (12 to 3 mos. before launch) and postflight (10, 30, 90, 180, and 365 d after landing) tests included assessments of eye structure (fundoscopy, optical coherence tomography [OCT], and optical biometry). Inflight (days 10 ± 7, 30 ± 7, 90 ± 7, and 150 ± 30) evaluations included fundoscopy and OCT imaging of the posterior eye. A mixed-effects linear regression model was used to compare preflight outcomes to multiple inflight and postflight observations. Data are presented as mean with 95% CI.

Results : Minimum rim width (ONH rim tissue) and peripapillary choroidal thickness significantly increased from preflight values as early as the first inflight time point, and maximally on flight day 150 (minimum rim width: 39 (32 – 46) µm, P < 0.001; choroidal thickness: 47 (34 – 60) µm, P < 0.001). Both variables recovered to preflight values 45 d after landing. Two of the 11 subjects demonstrated Frisen grade 1 edema during flight (OD: day 150, OD day 90). At the first postflight exam (day <10), axial length and ACD were significantly decreased by 0.10 (0.11 – 0.08) mm (P < 0.001) and by 0.11 (0.14 – 0.09) mm (P < 0.001), respectively. Both of these variables remained significantly lower than preflight values for up to 1 year.

Conclusions : The results suggest that ocular changes are not limited to a specific subset of individuals with disc edema. Future studies should determine the specific retinal components that are affected. These data provide further evidence that SANS is not limited to the posterior segment of the eye, and the anterior segment warrants further investigation. Quantitative OCT of the ONH during long-duration spaceflight may be an important tool for monitoring of optic disc edema.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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