NASA: The Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure Summit Report

The Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure ( V I I P ) Summit was hosted by the NASA Johnson Space Center  Space Life Sciences Directorate on February 8-10,  2011 in Houston Texas. (Summit Agenda Appendix 1)  There were approximately 75 attendees representing expertise in  multiple disciplines including anesthesia, cardiology, engineering, epidemiology, medical physics, neurology, ophthalmology, neuro- ophthalmology,  optometry, radiology, space physiology, space medicine,  ultrasonography, and vascular physiology.

The attendees included NASA civil servants, NASA contractors, non-NASA clinicians, and professors from various academic institutions (see Appendix 2). The attendees were further divided into co-chairs, panelists and non-panelists to identify the co-chairs and panelists as the group responsible for forming recommendations and producing this report.
This summit brought these experts together to discuss the documented cases of visual impairment (VI) and increased ICP in astronauts during and after long duration spaceflight on the International Space Station (ISS). The discussion entailed the immediate clinical diagnosis and treatment options, clinical tools that required additional research and development,  possible underlying spaceflight physiology effects requiring investigation, and potential anatomical or genetic  characteristics which may confer susceptibility or risk for developing the visual impairment and/or increased intracranial pressure after exposure to microgravity. The discussion and summit focused on seven documented cases which are summarized in the background summary (see Appendix 3) but did consider the possibility that all long duration astronauts experience the underlying physiological effect with only a subset  manifesting symptoms and degraded function (i.e. visual impairment).

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