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Invited Commentary
February 2018

Optical Coherence Tomographic Analysis of the Optic Nerve Head and Surrounding Structures in Space Flight–Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Blanton Eye Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(2):200-201. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.5496

Unusual and unique physiologic and pathologic neuro-ocular findings have been documented in astronauts during and after long-duration space flight and collectively have been termed space flight–associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS). During the past several years, the Space Medicine Division of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has documented the variable occurrence of SANS in astronauts after flights on the International Space Station. The clinical findings of SANS are variable but include unilateral and bilateral optic disc edema, globe flattening, choroidal and retinal folds, hyperopic refractive error shifts, and nerve fiber layer infarcts (ie, cotton-wool spots). Structural changes correlating with these clinical findings have been documented using terrestrial orbital and intracranial magnetic resonance imaging as well as in-flight and terrestrial orbital ultrasonography and ocular optical coherence tomography (OCT).1-6

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