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Astronauts In Space: Blurry Vision Caused By Spinal Fluids On Eye; Back Pain Due To Weakening Muscles [Video]

Update Date: Nov 30, 2016 09:50 AM EST
U.S., Russian Crew Land in Kazakhstan After 172-Day Mission
Expedition 48 crew member Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos sits in a chair in front of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft after landing with fellow Russian Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams September 7, 2016 near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Williams, Ovchinin, and Skripochka are returning after 172 days in space where they served as members of the Expedition 47 and 48 crews onboard the International Space Station. (Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

Astronauts in space for long periods of time may suffer from blurry vision and a host of physical changes. Moreover, astronauts preparing for a mission to Mars may be facing back pains as muscles slowly waste away in microgravity.

Space flights and missions take its toll on the human body as more astronauts have complained of having eye problem among many other bodily complaints after staying for long periods in space stations. In the past, the blurry vision was considered an oddity, but more recently, NASA doctors and scientists have expressed alarm as more astronauts have complained of the problem.

Based on medical records, two-thirds of astronauts who spent longer periods in space have complained of having blurry vision or what is known as the Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure (VIIP), as reported in the Daily Mail. Now doctors may have a clue based on the study of the MRI scans of the astronauts' eyes.

Doctors believe that the culprit may be the cerebrospinal fluid, which helps cushion the brain and the spine. In space and in microgravity environments, the spinal fluids could have shifted in the upper body particularly in the eye.

The presence of the spinal fluids also accounts for the flattening of the back of the eyeballs and the inflammation of the head of the optic nerves, BBC reported. Doctors warned that if not treated, the damage to the eye may be irreversible even after returning to earth.

Structural changes in the body of astronauts in space have also been experienced and the spacefarers never fully recovered upon returning home. Noam Alperin of the University of Miami presented the findings at the Radiological Society of America (RSA).

Alperin has just received a grant from NASA in the amount of $600,000 dollars to further study the eye problem experienced by astronauts in space. This kind of study is timely and relevant now that NASA is getting closer to bringing astronauts to Mars.

Concerns over the health of the astronauts during the long-haul flight remain a top priority and evidence suggests that astronauts in space may also suffer from back pains due to weakening muscles in a microgravity environment. NASA hopes that medical researchers and doctors will find a way for astronauts to continue with the agency's space missions without causing damage to their bodies.

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