The Heidelburg Spectralis?
The Heidelburg Spectralis is an advanced technology Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan device. It can take literally thousands of images of your retina using infrared light, getting deep down through layers of eye tissue.
You could be forgiven for assuming that an ophthalmology clinic in Brisbane could have nothing in common with NASA. After all, they are completely different, right? But what if we told you there was a common link, that of the technology each uses to test vision changes in people or astronauts!
The Heidelburg Spectralis does sound like the name of a sci-fi movie! However, it’s essentially a next-generation piece of eye technology used by both KindSIGHT and NASA
Similar to an ultrasound, but 10 times more sensitive, the Spectralis is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging platform. One of its key features is its ability to help ophthalmologists identify structures within the retina that aren’t visible to the human eye or traditional fundus photography.
About the Retina
The retina is light-sensitive tissue that sits at the back of your eye and is responsible for delivering information to your brain, helping us to interpret and process visual information. It is an essential part of the eye and a critical conduit for communication between the eye and the brain.
Diseases that can affect the retina include retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. The Heidelburg Spectralis OCT allows ophthalmologists to evaluate, diagnose, and manage these conditions effectively.
NASA and the Heidelburg Spectralis
Interestingly, NASA is using this exact same piece of equipment to investigate vision changes experienced by their astronauts.
In 2013, NASA installed a Heidelberg Spectralis OCT machine on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of their ‘Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) program’.
After around eight weeks in space, the ‘zero gravity’ environment causes fluid shifts in the astronauts’ bodies. This causes changes in the structure of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Not surprisingly, this can make it very difficult for an astronaut to carry out their important work. Unlike here on Earth, an appointment with an eye expert is not very easy to come by!
The return trip to Mars takes roughly three years! With a mission target date of 2030, NASA has made it a priority to work with leading ophthalmologists and technology companies to understand how to protect astronauts’ vision.
KindSIGHT and the Spectralis
We are committed to using leading technology and modern equipment. This enables us to diagnose and treat our patients accurately and successfully. We may not have any astronauts as clients, yet, but our Heidelberg Spectralis helps us provide the best possible care and treatment for our patients.
So, next time you visit our clinic, ask us about the Heidelberg Spectralis. We’ll give you a sneak peek at the technology that is serving NASA astronauts up in space!