Home > Five ASCRS Members Join Vision for Mars Challenge
What used to be the stuff of science fiction is moving its way into reality—a manned mission to Mars. As outlined in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and the 2010 U.S. National Space Policy, NASA is now developing ways to send humans to Mars around 2030. In addition to improving transportation capabilities and technologies, NASA and its partner organizations are looking to optimize the impact of space flight on the human body.
Five ASCRS members are now part of a group that is looking into the ophthalmic impact of space travel: John Berdahl, MD (ASCRS Young Eye Surgeons Clinical Committee member); Eugene de Juan Jr., MD; Richard L. Lindstrom, MD (ASCRS Foundation chair); Steve Schallhorn, MD (2007 ASCRS Binkhorst Lecturer); and Kuldev Singh, MD, MPH. These ASCRS members are part of a larger 10- person Vision for Mars Challenge, which first convened in November 2014 at the National Space and Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) in Houston.
The challenge is an initiative of the NSBRI at Baylor College of Medicine, which partners with NASA. According to Baylor College of Medicine, the challenge’s goal is to “help identify and advance medical technologies for ocular health in space through collaboration and funding support.” The NSBRI and NASA recently uncovered many significant effects of space travel on astronauts, both inside and outside of ophthalmology. A NASA survey reported that as many as 60% of astronauts experienced vision issues after multiple tours on the International Space Station. One of the major issues being addressed is the risk of spaceflight-induced vision impairment and intracranial pressure (VIIP) syndrome.