This tweet by Surrey Satellite engineer Enguerran Petitfils says

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor Examines Her Eyes via NASA https://ift.tt/2NmEt6k

What is this device exactly, how does it work, and who makes it? There is a logo on the side which says OIS which presumably just stands for Ocular Ischemic Syndrome:

...the constellation of ocular signs and symptoms secondary to severe, chronic arterial hypoperfusion to the eye.

The link in the tweet leads to today's NASA post Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor Examines Her Eyes, which does not really answer this question.

Question: What exactly is being measured, which of the "constellation of ocular signs and symptom..." are being detected, and how?

OIS device on ISS

OIS device on ISS


1 Answer 1


The link says it is a funduscope, meaning she can image her retina with it. It is basically a camera with a very specialized optics package that allows for taking photos through the lens of the eye. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophthalmoscopy for examples of retinal imaging.

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a member of the Expedition 56 crew currently aboard the International Space Station, examined her eye with a Funduscope with remote support from doctors on the ground. (emphasis added)

There seems to be something about spaceflight that impairs vision (https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1038.html) and this may be connected to experiments trying to find a cause.

the OIS logo seems to belong to a (defunct?) manufacturer of opthalmography equipment: google "ois winstation"

Hypoperfusion (meaning less blood flow than necessary) is detectable on funduscopy images, especially if they have access to pictures taken before the flight for comparison.

The link i gave above, about the immpaired vision after spaceflights, mentions ocular flattening - a usual funduscope would not be able to give measurements on that, but this one has an unusally long tube, so maybe the optics allow for more measurement modes?

Other pictures with the same instrument cite a 'ocular health' experiment that is ongoing on ISS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/204.html;

It says about funduscopy:

Fundoscopy: Direct fundoscopy is performed on the right and left eye to obtain images of the retinal surface. Subjects receive this exam as part of their preflight, in-flight, and postflight ophthalmological assessment. Since dilation is required for fundoscopy testing, sessions are scheduled around in-flight piloting, EVA and docking activities. All in-flight exams are remotely guided. Still images and short cine clips are recorded. Up to four additional examinations may be conducted postflight if abnormalities of the fundus persist.

The funduscopy is the only test in the 'ocular health'-experiments that can be done with the instrument held like that.

  • $\begingroup$ After reading eyewiki.aao.org/Ocular_Ischemic_Syndrome the only purely optical diagnostics I could find are angiography using either Flourescein or Indocyanine dyes, and presumably those would be injected, and the scope would have a blue light to induce fluorescence. I wonder if that's what's happening here? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ yes, the tube is quite long, the only thing I can think of is that it could allow for both high and low magnification modes. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ I was looking for a higher resolution image to search the logo on the instrument. Curiously, I found a high-res version in reddit's r/photoshopbattles! reddit.com/r/photoshopbattles/comments/91nyip/… $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:10
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    $\begingroup$ There is also one where you can see some of the interface on the back: nasa.gov/sites/default/files/nnj13zsa002n_image.jpg $\endgroup$
    – bukwyrm
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ I found this i.sstatic.net/elxcm.jpg which appears to stand for Ophthalmic Imaging Services which may have since been acquired. oisi.com now links to merge.com which seems to be IBM; "Welcome to Watson Health Imaging" $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:24

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