Rapid Ascent to High Altitude Alters the Retina
Significant increases in retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness occur after rapid ascent to a high-altitude environment and can lead to other pathological changes, researchers from China report, according to an article in Medscape.
Ascent to a high altitude can induce a variety of symptoms, including altitude sickness, but few studies have described acute high-altitude ocular changes and their long-term prognosis.
Dr. X. Tian and colleagues from the 153rd Central Hospital of PLA, in Zhengzhou, investigated the retinas of 91 healthy military personnel (82 men) before and after their assignment to Tibet 4,600 meters (15,090 feet) above sea level, including 23 participants who underwent retinal examinations one month and three months after returning to baseline altitude about 100 meters (330 feet) above sea level.
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