Center for Space Medicine

Improving Retinal Health for Astronauts and Earthlings


Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome, or SANS, is considered by NASA to be a major, yet unexplained risk factor to astronauts. The condition occurs most often during long-duration space missions, where vision loss could significantly impair a mission. That’s why it’s so important to better understand this phenomenon and reduce the risk for astronauts. 

During microgravity, there are fluid shifts in the body that causes increased pressure on the eyes. This can damage astronaut’s vision. The condition has also been thought to be related to increased pressure on the brain, which can result in headaches and other neurological symptoms. During a long deep-space mission, like the future journey to Mars, astronauts need to be able to literally see their mission clearly and keep their bodies and minds as healthy as possible to return safely to Earth. 

In order to better understand and mitigate the risk of SANS, TRISH partnered with Dr. Tasneem Sharma, and her team at the University of North Texas to develop a new SANS research model.