• Hashtag= #spacevision


    Intracranial pressure is known to cause visual impairment in astronauts on long duration flights.  For some, this impairment is short-lived after a space flight, and for others it persists. The precise cause is currently unknown.  Study of this syndrome is relatively new and interest among space medical professionals increasing.

    NASA has made it a high priority to understand this syndrome and provide mitigation techniques to protect crewmembers from visual impairment.

    While there are many possible factors that could contribute to intracranial hypertension associated with spaceflight, the relative contribution of these, as well as the processes by which eye damage occurs as a result of intracranial hypertension, are not fully understood.

    The observed pathophysiological phenomena are extremely complex and it is likely that multiple factors contribute to their incidence, rather than one simple mechanism.

    Challenge Description

    This challenge is to create a visualization and/or model to help better understand intracranial pressure and its contributing factors.  The solution should graphically represent the Visual Impairment/Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) data by creating a visualization color coded like a gene array. The visualization may help researchers better understand the complexity of causes of visual impairment from intracranial pressure .

    Functional Specifications

    • The solution should be able to pull data from an excel spreadsheet.
    • The solution include a visual representation, not just a processed data file.
    • The visualization should include the following factors: age, CO2 expression, meds, gender, BMI, etc.  
    • It should use color coding, a sequence diagram, or shading/toning, to show strength of signal.
    • It should be developed to allow for the processing of additional similar data sets.


    • Findings on astronaut vision loss

    • Visual impairment due to intracranial pressure

    • Risk of Spaceflight-Induced Intracranial Hypertension/Vision Alterations


      Risk Statement
      Given that the microgravity environment causes cephalad fluid shift in astronauts, there is a probability that astronauts will have intracranial hypertension (IHT) to some degree, and if left untreated, could lead to hyperopic vision shifts.

    • Risk of Microgravity-Induced Visual Impairment/Intracranial Pressure (ICP)


      Over the last 40 years there have been reports of visual acuity impairments associated with
      spaceflight through testing and anecdotal reports. Until recently, these changes were thought to
      be transient, but a comparison of pre and postflight ocular measures have identified a potential
      risk of permanent visual changes as a result of microgravity exposure. There are limited pre and
      postflight measures to define the risk and even less in-flight data is available. These data show
      that there is a subset of crewmembers that experience visual performance decrements, cottonwool spot formation, choroidal fold development, optic-disc edema, optic nerve sheath
      distention, and/or posterior globe flattening with varying degrees of severity and permanence.
      These changes define the visual impairment/intracranial pressure (VIIP) syndrome. It is thought
      that the ocular structural and optic nerve changes are caused by events precipitated by the
      cephalad-fluid shift crewmembers experience during long-duration spaceflight. It is believed that
      some crewmembers are more susceptible to these changes due to genetic/anatomical
      predisposition or lifestyle (fitness) related factors. Three important systems – ocular,
      cardiovascular, and central nervous – will be evaluated to understand the risk of developing the
      VIIP syndrome. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the identified visual acuity
      and structural changes including increased intracranial pressure, localized ocular changes such as
      ocular hypotony, decreased venous compliance, and alterations in cerebrospinal fluid dynamics.
      As there are little data to determine the extent or cause of the VIIP syndrome, there is a
      knowledge gap related to etiology of the changes and the postflight resolution. This lack of
      knowledge gives the basis for increased pre, in-, and postflight monitoring to characterize the
      risk. It will be very important to determine the risk of developing the VIIP syndrome and if there
      is an increase in severity corresponding to mission duration for exploration class missions.
      Although the leading hypothesis is that increased intracranial pressure underlies the observed
      changes in affected crewmembers, due to the paucity of intracranial pressure measurements in
      these crewmembers the term optic-disc edema will be used in this report, rather than the term

    • Parameters of Interest (with clinical ranges)


      Parameters of Interest (with clinical ranges). Utilize these parameters as basic information for creating a visualization.

    Create Project Solving this Challenge

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  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

    • Visual Enlightenment

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    • Brain Pressure and Your Eye

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    • In Flight Study To Decrease VIIP and IOP Using C.S.T. to Improve Vertebral and Carotid Drainage

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    • VIIP Reporter

      Seeing in space -------------------- Intracranial pressure is known to cause visual impairment in astronauts on long duration flights. For some, this impairment is short-lived after a space flight, and for others it persists. The precise cause is currently unknown. Study of this syndrome is r... Visit Project