Reduced pressure during space missions can lead to negative changes in the eye, which can last for years even after spacemen return to Earth. Hence, astronauts might need to wear swimming goggles in the future to protect their vision in space, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
Astronauts on long missions at the International Space Station can experience changes to their eyes and vision that can last for years.
‘Wearing goggles create mild pressure around the eyes and counteract the problem, caused due to a drop in pressure inside the eye. Modestly raising intraocular pressure with swimming goggles could help relieve spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome.’
This study included 20 men who on three separate days at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston completed exercises while on their back and tilted back head-first (to simulate the effect of exercise in space); 10 of the participants wore swimming goggles.
The Research team found exercise was associated with decreases in pressure in the eye, while the addition of swimming goggles was associated with modestly increased pressure, which could reduce some of the adverse effects on the eye of long-duration spaceflights.
These findings need to be replicated in spaceflight to determine whether increasing eye pressure with swim goggles is safe and effective.