Acuity Pro Digital Eye Chart to Test Effect of Space Travel on Eyesight

By

Jerry Carter, OD, and Dan Bintz, OD.
ELK CITY, Okla.—A two-year health study being conducted by NASA aboard the International Space Station got underway this month using the Acuity Pro digital eye chart invented by optometric physician, Dan Bintz, OD, and fellow Oklahoma optometric physician, Jerry Carter, OD. NASA uploaded Acuity Pro to the International Space Station earlier this year, and it is now installed on all the laptops there.

The study is focused on decreased visual acuity that astronauts seem to experience due to long-term exposure to microgravity while in space. About 20 percent of astronauts who have flown to the International Space Station have reported some type of vision changes with varying degrees of severity and permanence. This is the first experiment to investigate microgravity-induced visual impairment/intracranial pressure or VIIP Syndrome.

“Scientists are aware that astronauts have developed vision modifications while in space,” said Bintz. “In the past, this issue has not been addressed until astronauts return to earth. Now, with Acuity Pro, NASA has the ability to monitor visual alterations in real time to determine when changes begin, how they progress and specific astronauts who are affected.”

“NASA first approached us last year with the idea of using Acuity Pro on the International Space Station,” said Carter. “They wanted a software product that would test acuity, contrast sensitivity and macular function so they would not have to add any existing equipment to an already crowded space station.”