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    NASA-backed institute calls on ophthalmic companies for space research help

    Houston—NASA has struggled to understand why many astronauts, upon returning from space missions, have experienced moderate to severe eye problems and changes to their vision, said Dorit Donoviel, PhD.

    In an effort to prevent and combat these issues, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine have launched the Vision for Mars Challenge to help identify and advance medical technologies for ocular health in space through collaboration and funding support.

    More in this issue: Entering the Lion’s Cage: Correcting RK—A refractive epidemic

    “NASA needs these next-generation clinical diagnostic and research-enabling technologies to provide critical information about ocular health during spaceflight. These technologies must be small, robust, and easy to use by non-experts,” said Dr. Donoviel, NSBRI’s deputy chief scientist and industry forum lead. “This is an excellent opportunity for small U.S.-based companies to receive funding and accelerate the development of their products.”

    According to NSBRI, small companies are encouraged to apply with technologies that are compact enough to take into space and than can be used to run tests for the etiology and treatment of visual impairment syndrome in astronauts.

    According to NSBRI, examples of the technologies and approaches needed by NASA include:

    • Ability to determine refraction in space
    • Visual field testing in space
    • An easier and more accurate way to measure IOP in space
    • Ability to measure scleral thickness at the posterior pole in space
    • Techniques to image the retinal and other eye vasculature in space
    • Ways to determine benign versus harmful disc edema
    • Ability to estimate translaminar pressure across lamina cribrosa
    Rose Schneider Krivich
    Rose is the content specialist for Medical Economics.

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