Eyesight Problem


February 23, 2008, 09:41 AM
As I'm getting a little older (57) I seem to have a problem with my sights, maybe someone has a suggestion. I wear bi-focals, when looking down range, I try to focus on my front sight but it's fuzzy because I'm looking thru the middle of my glasses. The only way I can clearly see the front sight is to tilt my head back and look thru the bottom of my glasses. This is not natural and in a defensive situation, no one is going to move their head up and down to get the best sight picture, besides, looking thru the bottom of my glasses makes the target blurry. I'm thinking of better sights that my eyes can pick up faster. I mainly shoot my XD45 Service with 3 dot sights or my SA Loaded 5" with "look alike" Novak sights. Anyone else have this problem? What did you do?

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February 23, 2008, 09:46 AM
All us old guys have this problem.
I'm 62.
There really isn't a "one answer fits all" answer.
Either the target or the front sight will be fuzzy.
A lot of us have gone to red dots or scopes to address this problem.


February 23, 2008, 10:00 AM
I have this problem as well but concentrate on practical shooting for self defense at 10 yards and in for which I am not relying on a sight pitcure as much as a general pointing to the kill zone. Seems to work out well. Anything beyond 20 yards I am using a firearm with optical sights.

February 23, 2008, 10:29 AM
...whether you would be more focused on your front sight or the threat during a self-defense incident. A lot of evidence suggests that it will be more likely that you will focus on the threat. There are a few theories on how to deal with presbyopia (the aging of the lens of the eye, which impeded close focus). One is to use a laser sight, which may not be visible in all circumstances and can be subject to failure (e.g., bad battery). Another is to use a different kind of sight. Many of those who favor this approach like the Big Dots sights from XS Sight Systems (http://www.xssights.com/store/handgun.html). These may prove frustrating if you're the sort who measures group size on 25-yard targets but they are designed to be large enough to impinge on your peripheral vision if you do focus on the threat. They are fast to acquire and are reasonably accurate for deliberate, aimed fire.

February 23, 2008, 10:46 AM
I also have eye sight problems[ not getting any younger] and am trying a couple of new things for me.
For close up and quick, I'm hoping Crimson Traced has the answer for me. I am waiting on it to arrive. Also, there are certain circumstances when the sights all but disappear and I'm hoping the CT will help then.
The other optiion is wide spaced night sights. I want a little more light in the sides of the front sight and the night light dots seem to be helpful.
I will be looking a Tru Glow or something similar for one of my postols. My carry pistol presently has metroplights on them and are very good. They do not however, provide the daytime help I think the Tru Glows would.
I have tought about one of the upright sights, TV type that have a lighted dot on my house gun. Have never seen them so need advice here.
The dot seems like a great thing to have if it is reliable..
Best wishes, keep practicing.

February 23, 2008, 10:49 AM
I've got a few years on you, 62 now. About 12-13 years ago when I was in the AF Reserve ( medical unit) a friend was an optometrist. I had progressive lenses and was having fits shooting with them. It seems as the good part is roughly hourglass shaped, lower corners not being too good. He told me people that used them usually had their eyes change quicker than those using standard bifocals, plus you are always looking for that perfect spot.

After that I said I did not want bifocals, but to give me trifocals, the center lens focusing at arms length, just right for the front sight on a handgun.

That setup works well for me and it gives a good intermediate focal lenght for many other things.

February 23, 2008, 10:58 AM
looking thru the bottom of my glasses makes the target blurry. That's because it should. You cannot focus on both the front sight and the target at the same time (unless they are very close to the same distance, in which case, why are you worried about the sights).

I think your best bet is to practice more. The more you shoot, the less you worry about the small things.

fearless leader
February 23, 2008, 11:12 AM
LaserMax offers some options to help, although pricey. You would still have to zero and practice with whatever you use if you intend to be effective.

"Fire Sights" offer another option. They are easy to see and line up, even in low light.

February 23, 2008, 11:14 AM
My eyesight has always been very poor and hasn't improved at age 58. Both of the pistols I carry have lasers. I've tested them in various lighting conditions and have found them to be very visible except in the most extreme of bright sunlight.

I really like the lasers. You can focus on the threat and not worry at all about sight picture. And on the ArmaLasers I use they are instant on whenever the trigger finger is put in the trigger guard. They also turn off automatically after 12 seconds of no contact. I test the batteries twice each day and they will tend to remain turned on when the battery is running low. That provides notice that they need to be changed and greatly reduces the possibility of failure when they are truly needed. I've also found that they've retained their point of aim after 50 rounds or more of firing.

I pray that I'll never need them on a live target but am confident that they would be a definite advantage to me should that need arise.

fearless leader
February 23, 2008, 11:14 AM
I just remembered there was something in a gun magazine about an optician who put a bifocal lens in the upper part of a man's shooting glasses for the same reason. Ask you optician about inserting a lens in the upper, inside of your lens.

February 23, 2008, 11:19 AM
Jkingrph, my experience with trifocals was exactly the opposite of yours. The lined trifocals were a constant annoyance trying to line up the proper little window with what I was trying to see. I gave up pistol shooting because I could't see good enough to shoot decently. A few years ago I gave progressive bigocals a try and could hardly believe the difference. Now when I look at something it is in focus without bobbing my head up and down like a chicken picking corn. I can even shoot pistols with iron sights pretty well again. No more trifocals for me.

February 23, 2008, 11:24 AM
My solution was Lasik monovision. One eye sees distance, the other sees near, the brain switches which eye it uses depending on where I look. Had it done Jan 3rd. I'm 57 too. Its a joy to rediscover iron sights again!

Not everyone can adapt to monovison. A good eye doctor will give you monovision trial contacts to see if you can adapt find out if they will work for you. Wouldn't work for my wife.

If you can wear contacts you don't need Lasik if monovision works for you.

Its wonderful to know that if the alarm goes off in the middle of the night I can wake up and see, before anything closer than 9-10 feet was just a blur and the astigmatism had me seeing two front sights.


February 23, 2008, 12:18 PM
I have a Laser-Max on my XD45, it really helps and is dead-on. Problem, it disappears in bright sunlight so you have to go back to iron sights. The mono-vision is an interesting concept, I'll have to check into that. I've looked at the XS Big-Dot, It doesn't seem like a bad idea. I'm kind of torn between those and Truglo TFO's. Thanks for the tips guys.

February 23, 2008, 12:19 PM
I wear progressives, and I can usually find a spot where the sights and target are fairly close to being in focus. With regular line bifocals or trifocals, the abrupt jump in focus is very difficult to use for shooting. A good brand of progressive like Varilux works better.

February 24, 2008, 02:28 AM
I have the same problem. I have found a thicker front sight blade and wider slot on the rear helps a lot. Even when trying to focus on the front sight it isn't sharp on a handgun. My M1 Garand front sight is out far enough to be crystal.

I also find that red/orange sights on my revolvers helps too. I can easily imagine the firesights or big dot sights would be better on a handgun, too. Optics would be good for carbines and rifles.

I just don't think you fcan ind anything that allows good down range vision, and then sharp focus on the front sight. It will likely still be a bit blurry and like another poster said, you have to accep that you can seel well enough for combat ranges, but without optics you won't be shooting for 25 yd accuracy like you used to.

I have contacts and thinking about Lazik. I have one contact slightly adjusted for closer vision. The problem is they recommend having the sharp distance vision in your dominate eye, which is the one you should also sighting with. thius the slightly bluured front sight even when trying to focus on it instead of the target.

Nowhere Man
February 24, 2008, 10:14 AM
Dime store glasses. Find the one that has the right magnification by looking at your thumbnail at arms length.

A fiber optic front sight works great too.


February 24, 2008, 11:10 AM
Google "Merit Optical Attachment" and "meritcorporation". It attaches to your glasses and works like the lens on a pinhole camera. Mine has made a world of difference in my shooting since presbyopia made it impossible for me to see sights clearly.

February 24, 2008, 11:26 AM
+1 on the progressive lenses for shooting! Best thing since Fizzies! Because of the progressive nature of the lens, you don't have to tilt your head as far back as you might with bifocals, and the sweat spot is quite easy to find. Well made progressives are wonderful. I can hold my arm out in front of me, and everything from my shoulder to my finger tips is in perfect focus without moving my head at all.

For fast defensive-type shooting, highly visable front sights also are great. No need to find the best lens spot for this type of firing with the right front sight (like High-Viz). I also have a set of Crimson Trace gips for one of my defensive guns. You could be almost blind and hit dead center with them. Just be sure of your target!!!!

February 24, 2008, 02:24 PM
"I feel your pain" I am 69 and wear trifocals.
The perfect answer for me was LASER SIGHT. I couldn't recommend it more. It takes getting used to and it takes some practice with it, but it sure solved the problem for me!


February 24, 2008, 02:43 PM
I'm 55 and have been using monovison contacts now for 4 years. The distance eye is not as sharp as with normal glasses (but good enough) but the reading eye will focus perfectly on the front sight. It does take a bit to get use to them but after that you don't even notice it. They have worked out great for me.

February 24, 2008, 02:44 PM
I'm 57 with progressive trifocals and astigmatism. I just switched from trifocals to the progressives about 6 month ago and am having a devil of a time focusing on anything that isn't in the distance. I'll be going back to trifocals -- I find it comforting to be able to know where the middle distance is on the glasses. I did just find one interesting thing reading this thread. I found I can focus on the front sight without my glasses, so in a night situation I can forget about them. It seems like laser sights may be the way to go for SD, but I do like the simplicity of iron sights.

February 24, 2008, 02:51 PM
Just reading it seems as though some of us like our trifocals, others progressives. Whatever works, different strokes for different folks!!

Brian Dale
February 24, 2008, 04:10 PM
Thanks a lot for what you've posted, folks. I'm another one who needs this information.

February 24, 2008, 04:36 PM
I too have progressive bifocals. Moving my head around trying to find the best sight definition spot du jour in them was merely annoying at the range. In the field or in IDPA-type competition you can't do it and expect to come home pleased with your results. The real p----r is that once you've gotten yourself into the habit it's darned hard to break.

For me, the most practical all-around option has been fiber optic front sights. For bullseye target shooting and the like at a range the 'special glasses' and Mert attachment options are fine. But I don't see much real value in spending a lot of time or ammo practicing with a gimmick that isn't likely to be there if and when I'm actually engaged in the situation(s) that I'm trying to build the skill sets to perform successfully in.

I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Luddite, but I will admit to being uncomfortable with developing too much reliance or dependence on relatively complex doodads when it comes to the prospective safety and health of my Personal Favorite Behind. Add batteries to the equation and I'm liking it even less.

Hunting is a slightly different matter to me, as I don't live where there's much in the way dangerous four-legged predators, very seldom venture into areas where they might be an issue, and never go looking for them. If my scope, red dot or whatever happens to crap-out on me there, about the worst result would be that I lost some time and money and have to rely on Kroger's for my entrees.

In the interests of keeping everything as simple and uniform as possible for myself, all of my most-used hunting and general purpose rifles and carbines have FO front sights. The scoped ones have a rear 'iron' back-up of some sort attached and zeroed, just in case. So far just the improved definition and faster acquisition of the FO's have made enough difference to allow me to enjoy a reasonable average of success on small game and deer by itself. As my Geezerhood advances things might changes. I hope not too much.

But on my SD/HD/CCW arms there're only FO and/or tritium. I spent many years training with the 'traditional' setup. I'm used to it and I've gotten fairly adept with it. So far the new-fangled glowy things have been enough to keep the arrangement viable and working for me.

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