Keep Your Eyes Open at Mirror Lake Tonight!

We know that Mirror Lake Jump-In is a fun and exciting tradition for a lot of students, but it can be a risky proposition.  The combination of cold weather, alcohol, wet clothing and the slippery lake bottom can lead to lots of bad things: hypothermia, frostbite, upper respiratory infections, sprains and broken bones among others.    

And just so we can be a total buzzkill, we thought we’d tell you about another risk of jumping into Mirror Lake that you probably hadn’t thought about – an eye infection known as Acanthamoeba Keratitis.  The bug that causes this disease is commonly found in fresh water sources, such as tap water and our very own Mirror Lake.

This infection can be dangerous because the human immune system is not capable of fighting it off without the aid of specialized and intensive treatment.  The infection isn’t that common but if it goes untreated, it could lead to permanent vision loss.

Signs that you may have the infection include eye pain, blurry vision, light sensitivity or a sensation that something is stuck in your eye.  If you have any of these symptoms – regardless of whether or not you jumped into Mirror Lake – be sure to see your eye doctor or make an appointment with the optometrists at the Student Health Center as soon as possible. 

About 85% of all cases occur in people who wear contact lenses, so the best way to avoid catching this nasty bug is to not wear contacts while swimming or wading in any water source, especially lakes and hot tubs.  And you should never clean or store your contacts in regular tap water.

If we can’t talk you out of jumping into Mirror Lake tonight, at least bring blankets and dry clothes, don’t drink too much, do NOT dive or run when you jump in, and be sure to leave your contact lenses at home before you take the freezing plunge.

For more information on how to stay safe during Mirror Lake Jump-In, check out this great information from our friends at the Student Wellness Center.

Patrick Milleson, Leah Steele
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University

Julia Geldis, OD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

One thought on “Keep Your Eyes Open at Mirror Lake Tonight!

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