Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shooting With These Old Eyes

My main reason for writing these Musings is for my own catharsis. So be forewarned, this post will be random personal rambling and groaning about old eyes, and their effect on my shooting. For quite a few years I've been wearing glasses to correct near-sightedness, or myopia. Most folks, as they get older, trend to being affected by farsightedness, or hyperopia. (Yep, Google-foo comes in handy to find those fancy terms.) My optometrist keeps telling me I'm "lucky." In my case, my vision is sharp within arms-length, and degrades beyond that. This means I remove my glasses to do things such as eating and reading, and gazing into my lovely wife's eyes.

I've been noticing recently that my view of the sights on my pistol is not quite in focus when I'm wearing the prescription inserts for my shooting glasses, while the targets in the distance remain quite clear. The effect is exacerbated in low light. This isn't that much of an issue for close targets as precision aiming isn't so critical. But when I start shooting at targets 15, 20 or 25 yards away, the blurry edges of the sights can lead to a drop in accuracy when shooting at small targets. If I take the glasses off, the sights are sharp but of course everything in the distance is out of focus. What is interesting, and frustrating, is that the crossover point, where everything is in focus with my glasses on is a mere 4 inches beyond where the gun is held. I need longer arms, or perhaps I just need to wait until my vision degrades just a bit more!

It's accepted that "proper" aiming calls for focus to be on the sights, and the target beyond will be out of focus. So, I've considered simply forgoing the corrective lenses when I shoot. However I find it mildly disconcerting, and somewhat uncomfortable, to walk around with distant objects a bit out of focus, even if it's not all the severe. My reading tells me that does seem to be an option that many folks in the same situation choose.

It's a given that I need to get a slightly different prescription for the shooting lenses. Meanwhile I think I'll do some experimenting. On the next trip to the range I'll try going "correctionless" to see how it affects my comfort level walking around. I've also read on The Doodie Project forum a suggestion of correcting for distance only on the non-dominant eye. The poster says the brain will balance the two inputs. That's interesting but I can't test it without breaking my prescription inserts. I wonder if I have an old pair of glasses around that I could try it out with...

Anyone have the same problem? What's your solution?

Update, July 31: Problem solved.


  1. I have a similar problem with my new contact lenses.

    When we went shooting at The Range a couple months back, I wore my contact lenses. (Simply out of vanity) Being a new prescription, they correct my far vision enough that, when I read, I have to wear "granny glasses". When I shoot, I run into the same problem you're describing.

    My glasses are an older prescription, and I can still lock in on the front sight and shoot much better.
    So when I'm carrying/shooting, I'm wearing my glasses, except when I'm being vain and stupid.

    Maybe try asking the eye doctor for a prescription that does not quite correct your vision to 20/20 or better, only for occasional use.

    1. Ah, now we know why you looked so devilishly young. :-)

      MsgtB, that's exactly what I'm going to have to do with my shooting glasses. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long for an appt. Sadly, I was just in there a couple months ago too.

  2. One time when I was at the eye doctor's I talked to him about my plight, very similar to yours. He actually fitted me with a contact for my dominant eye that makes the front sight in focus. Cool thing is, the target is in focus from the other eye. It's changed my life.

    I made a post about it here:

    The doctor gave me the lens free as a sample, and I asked for another the last time. Only wearing them a few hours a month, I've made them last 2 years so far. Very nice.

    1. FYH, interesting, that's the opposite correction from the forum post. Contacts are something I've just can't bring myself around to.

      I'm looking forward to talking with my eye doctor.


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