Another Mishap: Are My Glasses at Fault?

I returned from a wonderful trip to Roanoke, VA, on Sunday, April 21. I successfully completed the Blue Ridge Marathon, a challenging race that bills itself quite truthfully as “America’s toughest road marathon.” On this trip and all during the race – which included walking up and down several steep mountains – I did fine, without tripping or falling or hitting the pavement. It was the first race I walked without my removable splint to protect my now-healed broken arm.
So imagine my shock and surprise when, on a routine walk to the Post Office the following Monday morning, I tripped and fell on the sidewalk. I’m not sure what caused me to fall; perhaps it was a rock, a stick, a pine cone, or maybe just a slight change in the sidewalk elevation. In any case, I fell hard, very hard, on my right hand and fingers and I experienced excruciating pain. My knees were also victim to this fall and I ended up with several bloody abrasions. But of course my primary concern was my hand and arm and the possible damage to my previously broken distal radius with titanium implant.
Somehow I managed to walk back home; everything looked okay on the surface but since the pain was far worse than I had experienced when I broke my arm in February, I decided to take no chances and called my surgeon. After x-rays and a CT scan showed a possible break in my scaphoid bone, my arm was placed in a soft cast for two weeks. A more definitive answer from yesterday’s MRI will ideally resolve the diagnosis and determine treatment. And so I wait.
Meanwhile, I have been trying to figure out why I am falling so frequently. It is understandable to fall during train runs; that is part of the sport. What concerns me far more are the falls I have on pavement. My background as medical librarian led me to do a Pubmed literature search on falls and older adults. There is an abundance of research on this topic but one recent study seemed directly applicable to my situation. Published in the British Medical Journal (bmj.com) in 2010, this randomized controlled study looked at people over 65 who wore multifocal versus single distance glasses and their frequency of falling. I have been wearing progressive trifocals for a number of years, and all of my falls have occurred within that period. The study concluded that “provision of single lens [distance] glasses for older wearers of multifocal glasses who take part in regular outdoor activities is an effective falls prevention strategy.”
I decided that purchasing a pair of single lens distance glasses to wear during races and my outdoor walks would be well worth the cost. I bought a pair of single lens distance sunglasses as well. Time will tell if this strategy will work to prevent further falls but I can already attest to the greater ease I feel when I walk while wearing the distance lenses.

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2 thoughts on “Another Mishap: Are My Glasses at Fault?

  1. Phew! Glad to hear is is reasonably easy to correct for the falls with the glasses. I found it ‘way too hard to believe that someone as athletic as you would suddenly begin to fall on surfaces you normally navigate easily. So happy you’re feeling more comfortable with your tootling around!

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