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The effect of space missions on gravity-responsive torsional eye movements.

Authors
  • Diamond, S G
  • Markham, C H
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of vestibular research : equilibrium & orientation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1998
Volume
8
Issue
3
Pages
217–231
Identifiers
PMID: 9626649
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Three astronauts underwent preflight, inflight, and postflight testing of spontaneous ocular torsion and of ocular counterrolling (OCR), reflexes governed by the gravity-responsive otolith organs in the inner ear. One astronaut, A, had a 30-day space mission on Euromir '94 and was examined monocularly with SensoMotoric Instruments video-oculography (VOG). The other two astronauts, B and C, were studied with a binocular VOG and flew an 180-day mission on Euromir '95. In space, spontaneous eye torsion in the upright position was found to be substantially offset from baseline Earth-based recordings in all three subjects for the duration of the flights. In addition, the binocular studies showed a marked torsional disconjugacy. On return to Earth, offset and torsional disconjugacy persisted for many days. OCR in response to 30 degrees right and left tilt was examined preflight and postflight. Compared to preflight, Astronaut A showed reduced OCR immediately postflight, which increased over the next few days. Both Astronauts B and C had increased OCR postflight, which gradually approached but did not achieve the preflight values over 13 days postflight. The adaptation of ocular torsion in space in one astronaut and not in the other two, and slow adaptation postflight, may reflect the lack of visual feed-back and the open loop nature of the otolith-ocular torsion reflex.

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