SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module Improves Speed and Efficiency on the International Space Station

Research on the effects of microgravity on vision continues with the SPECTRALIS multimodal imaging platform.

Heidelberg, Germany – Heidelberg Engineering, the imaging and healthcare IT technologies company focused on ophthalmic diagnostic solutions that empower clinicians to improve patient care, announced that its SPECTRALIS imaging platform with the company’s next-generation OCT2 Module has been successfully installed at the International Space Station (ISS) and is now fully operational.

NASA launched the SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module to the ISS aboard the Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-9, also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 9E, from Wallops Island, Virginia, last May. The new imaging platform was placed into service in late December 2018. The SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module replaces the SPECTRALIS OCT that has been operational at the ISS since 2013.

“We at Heidelberg are particularly proud of the collaboration with NASA to have our imaging technology be a part of this mission,” said Arianna Schoess Vargas, CEO. “With this advanced OCT technology, it is easier for the astronauts to capture high-quality images in even less time. Working in such an environment, there is significant value placed on efficiency that doesn’t compromise quality.”

SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module represents the next-generation OCT technology as it provides noticeably faster scan speed, while a more sensitive signal detection enhances image quality and preserves the resolution in the inner retina. Utilizing TruTrack Active Eye Tracking within the OCT2 Module, clinicians are also able to reduce variability between exams. The end results are repeatable and reproducible follow-up exams, higher image quality, improved workflow and a better patient experience with shorter examinations.

“By implementing the next-generation SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module, NASA will be able to take an even deeper dive into understanding Space Flight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS),” said David M. Brown, MD, the retina specialist on the NASA SANS Research and Clinical Advisory Panel and retinal surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas.
“In response to the conditions of long duration space flight, the eyes of almost all of our astronauts experience swelling in the blood supply layers (the choroid) behind the retina and swelling of the optic nerve as it enters the eye. The SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module will enable imaging of these deeper layers of the choroid and optic nerve throughout the space flight and upon the astronauts’ return to Earth’s gravity. Discovering the underlying mechanism of SANS will be mission critical to develop countermeasures necessary for planned spaceflights to Mars and beyond.”

The now fully operational SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module reached the ISS on an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched on May 21, 2018.

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