Optical Coherence Tomography Technology Demonstration (OCT Tech Demo) - 01.20.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Being weightless and floating in space causes changes to the shape of crew members’ eyes during and after space flight. Further studies of this issue require detailed monitoring of the health of the crew's eyes during space missions. Optical Coherence Tomography Technology Demonstration (OCT Tech Demo) tests a commercially available state-of-the-art device that uses reflected light to examine the eye. Optical coherence tomography produces detailed three-dimensional images of the retina, retinal nerve fibers and other eye structures and layers.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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Experiment Details

OpNom: OCT

Principal Investigator(s)

Information Pending

Information Pending

Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg, Germany
Wyle Laboratories, Houston, TX, United States
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration 1
March 2013 - March 2014

Expeditions Assigned

Previous ISS Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NASA launched an unmodified, commercially-available OCT device to ISS as a technology demonstration to assess the ability of the hardware to withstand launch conditions and operate within the unique ISS environment. The results of this technology demonstration are used to assess the acceptability of the unmodified unit to operate effectively on ISS. If the device does not function as needed, modifications to prevent device failure and to mitigate performance issues as a result of launch vibration, low convection, and usability of the device are to be implemented in the next generation device built specifically for ISS operations. If the device functions as required it will be certified for medical operations and research use on board the ISS.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
OCT devices monitor changes to crew members’ eyes during the course of a mission. Information from in-flight measurements provides real-time medical evaluations and improve data gathering for investigations studying visual impairment and intracranial pressure in space.  This knowledge is used to develop countermeasures to safeguard crew member vision.

Earth Applications
Patients with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and other eye diseases need regular eye exams, but may be unable to access doctors, especially in rural areas. OCT devices are used in telemedicine applications, so doctors can examine a patient at another location. Remote guidance between crew members and investigators on the ground  improves telemedicine strategies, practices and procedures for patients on Earth.

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Operational Requirements
• Thermal IR Images
• Quality Score and Calibration Spectrum
• OCT Log Files
• Minimum 2 subjects for eye exams

Operational Protocols

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

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Related Websites

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Computer aided model of the commercial OCT unit, manufactured by Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg Germany, and adapted by NASA with components for ISS flight configuration (NASA Image)

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NASA Image: ISS038E011806 - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, performs OCT examination on board the ISS.

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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, performs OCT examination on board the ISS. (NASA Image)

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Clinical diagnostic setup of a Spectalis ® Multi-Modality Imaging, Spectral-Domain OCT unit.  (Image Credit: Heidelberg Engineering)

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