Prolonged microgravity exposure during long-duration spaceflight (LDSF) produces unusual physiologic and pathologic neuro-ophthalmic findings in astronauts. These microgravity associated findings collectively define the “Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome” (SANS). We compare and contrast prior published work on SANS by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Medicine Operations Division with retrospective and prospective studies from other research groups. In this manuscript, we update and review the clinical manifestations of SANS including: unilateral and bilateral optic disc edema, globe flattening, choroidal and retinal folds, hyperopic refractive error shifts, and focal areas of ischemic retina (i.e., cotton wool spots). We also discuss the knowledge gaps for in-flight and terrestrial human research including potential countermeasures for future study. We recommend that NASA and its research partners continue to study SANS in preparation for future longer duration manned space missions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science