Why Are Astronauts Going Blind?

For years, astronauts who had spent long durations of time in outer space had been coming back down to Earth with vision problems, but nobody could figure out why. Mike Wall, a senior writer for space.com, stated that the vision problems experienced by astronauts after a prolonged amount of time in outer space would hinder expeditions to farther reaches of outer space, such as Mars. In a later article on the subject by Ed Susman, which he had written for MedPageToday, stated that nearly two-thirds of long term International Space Station missions resulted in vision problems for the astronauts on them, and that by 2010, people were very concerned. There is a very clear correlation between the amount of time spent in space and the likelihood of developing vision problems.

Astronaut on moon

Dr. Noam Alperin and his team of doctors had decided to try and find out if fluid pressure was the cause for vision problems that the astronauts were experiencing; to do so, they compared MRI scans from seven long duration scans and 9 short duration scans, where, in this scenario, the short duration is the control. Dr. Noam Alperin found that the┬áchanges viewed were significant enough in long duration to reject the null hypothesis, that being that it didn’t do anything to fluids, while accepting the alternative hypothesis that fluid was the mechanism.

One clear possible problem with this study is that confounding variables are unlikely, but having a small sample size means that it is possibly due to chance.

Photos Cited

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nigerian-astronaut-space-trapped_us_56c2ced4e4b0c3c550527f0b

Works Cited

http://tmbrf.org/files/2012/01/Miami-BIOS.pdf

http://www.space.com/25392-manned-mars-mission-astronaut-vision.html

http://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/rsna/61738

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nigerian-astronaut-space-trapped_us_56c2ced4e4b0c3c550527f0b

4 thoughts on “Why Are Astronauts Going Blind?

  1. Anthony Frank Trobiano

    I found this blog post to be one of the more “out of the box” interesting posts. I had no idea that astronauts could develop such a vision issue. I find this topic to be very interesting and I am happy this post was made. It educated me on something I never knew could happen. Also did a great job with the sources to prove this being something not very easy to prove. I found this link that can also relate to facts backing up astronauts losing their vision. http://www.space.com/25392-manned-mars-mission-astronaut-vision.html

  2. Hugo Almeida

    I have never heard of this until brought to my attention in your post. Great topic choice especially considering there isn’t all too much research on the web regarding these post space difficulties. I was able to find the information you mentioned but you should try to look for more reputable sources. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1038.html . Try a link such as this one that contains all the facts and information that you covered and is the most reputable source for a space travel related incident or space travel in general. Overall, very unique topic choice and effectively reaching your conclusion.

  3. Zachariah Watkins

    I read somewhere that Astronauts returning from space are going blind or deteriorating vision because they have the direct contact with the Sun. They do not have an atmosphere like we do here on Earth, however one thing I would like to state is that because the sample size is small does not mean it holds little evidence, there is such a small sample because there is such a small population of Astronauts. Lastly do you think Astronauts, specifically NASA, is trying to develop better equipment to keep the eyesight of Astronauts from deteriorating? This shows the small population size of NASA astronauts.
    http://www.universetoday.com/81316/how-many-astronauts-does-nasa-need/

  4. Johann Michael Kok

    This is a very interesting post, I had no idea that astronauts could develop vision problems after returning to earth. Did you encounter any more health problems that astronauts may encounter when returning to earth?

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