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Retina damage when shooting?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ErminioB, Jan 5, 2003.

  1. ErminioB

    ErminioB Active Member

    Please gentlemen don't laugh, but: someone told me that the recoil of a shoot, even with an ordinary handgun, say a 9 mm, could be felt by the retina, eventually damaging it; I think it can't be, but I'll appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks everybody!

  2. Forseti

    Forseti Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't Navy pilots, propelled by a steam catapult off the deck of a carrier have a lot more retina damage over time? Force of the launch and all that....

    How about someone in the special forces...don't they practice a lot with...weapons....?

    This retina damage thing doesn't sound credible...unless you are shot in the eye...or a scope smacks into your eye...
  3. Gila Jorge

    Gila Jorge Well-Known Member

    Interesting question: I have diabetic reinopathy in other words macular degeneration and in my master eye (the one I aim with). However is visiting with my retinopathist I asked a similar question about several folks who I have shot with over the years that have during shoots had detached retina conditions occur. Don't know a precise answer or the occurance rate of detached retionas per se, but I know two veteran skeet shooters with that problem. Interesting.
  4. Harold Mayo

    Harold Mayo Well-Known Member

    I know boxers can get detached retinas from punches but I don't think that the eye is going to feel the pressure wave off of a 9mm (or any handgun round) enough to damage it.
  5. treeprof

    treeprof Well-Known Member

    Hmm, I've never heard of that happening, but I suppose it's possible. I would think it'd take a lot of shooting of big bores in a real stiff-armed fashion for that to happen. Both my optometrist and optician shoot and that know I do, and neither have ever warned me. I know two people (incl. my mom) who had detached retinas that manfested themselves during the course of their everyday lives, neither of whom shoots. I've heard of it happening to runners, and during a violent sneeze, and it seems I've heard that near sighted people are most prone to them for some reason. I'm usually more worried about splash-back and riccochets, but who knows.
  6. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Big caliber magnum rifles are more of threat than a 9mm.
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    I'm a doctor, but not the medical kind (if I prescribe drugs, it's 2 to 8 just on the state charges), so this is what I am told: Not from the recoil, but damage comes from the detritus that comes from shooting with unprotected eyes. A good friend of my father's was an SFer in Vietnam. Now at 60 he can close his eyelids and look at a light and see the galaxy.:D

    Lesson learned: forget all about that macho junk and wear your eyes.
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    It's not as funny as you think.

    When you're younger and in good health, your retinas can take a lot of stress and be fine. As you get older, though, the aqueous humor gets thicker, and your retina gets thinner and less elastic. If you already have eye disease or are at risk, recoil CAN be a serious consideration.

    My Father was advised to stop shooting anything other than small bore rifles, handguns, and lightly recoiling shotguns (he just stopped skeet altogether) several years ago after several retina tears.

    I SERIOUSLY doubt that handguns are going to be a problem.

    Rifles and shotguns, however? Yeah, they can be a problem.
  9. PATH

    PATH Well-Known Member

    Best course of action> CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN
  10. sm

    sm member

    Mike Irwin nailed it. Its serious. Writer Bob Brister had it occur.

    Known a few here also.
  11. sig970

    sig970 Well-Known Member

    I've seen 15 or so detached retinas come into the ER in the last maybe 6 years. Most were women, and non traumatic. It can happen spontaneously also. A couple of people bounced their forehead off of their steering wheel after rearending someone.
  12. Pendragon

    Pendragon Well-Known Member

    I remember singer Amy Grant has this happen to her suddenly a few years ago.

    They said you have to be treated ASAP or perm. damage can happen :what:
  13. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Another writer, John Wooters, had the same thing happen. He said it was from big bore rifles and he started hunting only with handguns after that. Said the handgun was gentler because the arms absorbed much of the recoil.
  14. Climb14er

    Climb14er Well-Known Member

    I had a near retinal detachment a few months ago

    from a blow to the eye, luckily I was wearing sunglasses. The lens broke and so did the frame. I got what was called a vitreous detachment. Huge floaters, masses of debris floating around the eye. They say it could be with me or go away in a few years.

    I would think that the recoil of a shotgun or a high powered rifle would be more damaging than the blast waves from a pistol. Especially when you have your cheek on the stock.

    I have been to the range when next to me, someone was shooting .44 magnums loaded with full powder. I did feel the blast waves in the next stall. That was disconcerting.

    If you have any concern, see an opthamologist. My vitreous detachment was very scary with light and discomfort shooting throughout the eye. It's settling down now but the floaters are still there.

    Good luck.
  15. six 4 sure

    six 4 sure Well-Known Member

    I have had two detached retinas. Both occured within 6 months at the age of 11 without explaination. I now have a piece of plastic sewed into my retina (buckle).

    Twenty years later I still have floaters, but no other problems.

  16. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Well-Known Member

    Bottom line, check with your Doc on the status of you eyes and if anything ever looks/feels funny get checked ASAP. A local fireman almost had a detachment. He said it was like lightning flashing in the corner of his eye so he went and got checked ASAP. They saved his vision and said it was due to him coming right in.
  17. telewinz

    telewinz Well-Known Member

    Are You Near Sighted?

    The more near sighted you are the greater risk you run, with age the risk increases. Recoil from a heavy caliber rifle can and has caused detachment of the retina, from a handgun its possible only because even a light blow has been known to cause a partially detached retina. Have your eyes examined at least once a year, especially if you are at risk. It may be time to lay aside that .458 Winchester Magnum you like to rabbit hunt with.
  18. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Well-Known Member

    What about bouncing aroung in the 4WD truck or ATV for an hour or two going in to the woods to retrieve your deer?
  19. Navy joe

    Navy joe Well-Known Member

    The problem with guns comes from shooting heavy caliber rifles a lot. It's a G-force injury. A cat shot from an aircraft carrier is progressive and not that many Gs, pilots more likely to experience damage eye or otherwise from inflight manuevers. Race car drivers suffer this a lot from unplanned sudden stops. If your eyes are red after a violent accident(bright red) it's because G force broke all the capillaries in your eyeballs. A 9mm won't hurt you unless you shoot yourself in the eye with it, then it's likely to hurt a lot.

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