Everyone that took part in the expedition, underwent ophthalmological explorations that were carried out in Bilbao just before going and again when we came back from K2 mountain adventure.
Due to the low oxygen levels that we suffered, we expected to find structural changes in a vascularized organ as the eye, which is in direct contact with the brain. At first, all participants of the expedition had an eye test by measing the numbers of letters read.
The specialists assessed different ocular structures (retina, choroid and optic nerve) using an Optical Coherence Tomography. OCT is known as a “scanner” of the eye that is able to measure the thickness of the retina (where the images are captured), the choroid (the most vascularized tissue of the human body) and the optic nerve (it transports nerve impulses to the brain).
We can use OCT angiography to measure the blood flow that reaches the retina and the optic nerve to see if there are any changes in these tissues as a result of hypoxia (low oxygen concentration) and hipercapnia (high concentrations of CO2) we suffered due to high altitude.
EXTREM GENETICS PROJECT BY ALEX TXIKON:
Dr. Jose Manuel Soria
Unit of Genomic of Complex Diseases. Biomedical Research Insitute Sant Pau (IIB-Sant Pau). Barcelona.
Dr. Lexa Nescolarde
Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Dr. Laura Pelegrin
Oftalmology Department. Hospital Clinic. Barcelona.