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Vision Problems limiting shooting ability

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mikemyers, Apr 22, 2015.

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  1. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    It seems like most times i come here, I read something about people not being able to shoot like they used to because of vision problems. Today's post was "Once my vision kind of went, the semi decent pistol shooting "went south". "

    Could any of you who feel this way please explain whether you mean that you can't see the gun sights clearly, or that your eyes have developed a problem that limits all your ability to see (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.).

    Many (but not all) of the above can be corrected. Those things that can't be corrected can usually be prevented from getting worse.
     
  2. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Speaking for myself, once I got older and needed bifocals, shooting well with iron sights - rifle OR pistol - became more difficult.
     
  3. patmccoy

    patmccoy Member

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    My opinion is based on 40 years working with all ages of shooters. The older ones we get for a Personal Protection class complain much about the degrading visibility.

    After working with them, it very often comes down to having to break the bad habit they developed over many years of shooting, of not looking at the front sight (and allowing the target to blur). When they began shooting they had good accommodation, and were able to refocus very quickly between the front sight and the target. This allowed the sight "picture" to look like the two dimensional picture in books and magazines, everything in focus.

    Many complain they cannot focus on the front sight. I simply have them hold out their arm, and then hold up a pencil about 5 inches in front of their hand, asking them to look at the pencil. All do so, with no problem. They then begin to understand that they are still trying to see everything in focus at once, an ability they no longer have.
     
  4. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    This.

     
  5. cologuy

    cologuy Member

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    patmccoy has a good point, but there are some other things that some have to deal with as their eyes get older. Depending on the size of the target, and light conditions, I can focus on the front sight enough that the target isn't even a "blur" anymore, it's just plain gone. On a silhouette it's not a problem, but a rust colored can sitting in the dirt at about 60 yards at twilight may as well not even be there. Color contrast has a lot to do with this, also. A black front sight on a target with a dark background is a problem. But all of this can be worked around with a little paint, fiber optic sights, target selection, etc, so it's not a show stopper by any means, you just have to adjust a little.
     
  6. BWB

    BWB Member

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    True, but not that simple. Some years ago, as my excellent sight started to degrade normally with age, my handgun shooting level did too, and eventually I became sufficiently discouraged to concentrate only on long guns.
    Fast forward ten or fifteen years, and I fell into the clutches of renewed association with young whippersnapper special operations folks. That led me back to shooting my handguns, and a determination to find a way to be good at it again.
    Now understand that with my distance correction my sight is good, but I cannot resolve the front sight to anything approaching sharpness, no matter what. And yes, I do know how to use iron sights correctly - always did - my generation grew up with them.
    The short version of my journey and work-around is this: use the three dots, which you can with practice align very accurately even without sharpness of focus anywhere. For me the bigger the better. A wide U shaped rear notch is a big part of what's needed. The Trijicon HD sights serve me the best. There may be others with similar characteristics. They are expensive, but worth every penny if you want to shoot well with old eyes.
    I am seventy-five and can hold my own very well for accuracy if not for speed.
    Your results may vary, and your personal solution may be different, but there is one if you work at it thoughtfully. You do not have to see a "conventional" iron sight picture to shoot well.
    Think outside the box - or make that the notch.
     
  7. jlr1962

    jlr1962 Member

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    Progressive bifocals glasses helped me see my handgun sights and targets better. Shooting is about the same so far. I have yet to use irons at 100 yards since getting the glasses. Maybe next week.
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    To keep the front sight in crisp focus (which is what you must do) tell your optician you need the lenses corrected for the distance from your eye to the front sight, which is about the same as holding a book at arm's length. You must have a sharp focus on the front sight and the light showing around it. If the target is a little fuzzy it doesn't really matter. Sight on the middle of the fuzz.
     
  9. Blade First

    Blade First Member

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    Both eyes open, 3MOA red-dot sight, problem solved.

    And it will cost a lot less than special prescriptions and the accompanying expense, including usual mods to the firearm.

    Don't ignore the progress in technology and the benefits thereof.
     
  10. Blade First

    Blade First Member

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    Sorry...doubletap.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  11. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    For shooting bullseye, action games, CC ?
    It depends.
     
  12. DaBruins

    DaBruins Member

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    When I was young, I had exceptionally good vision, but that all changed as I approached my 45th birthday. That's when I first noticed that it was becoming more difficult to read small print, and as a machinist, being able to read the vernier scale on micrometers/calipers. First, it was low-power bifocals to fix the problem, but now, almost 20 yrs. later, my distance vision has also changed to the extent that I also need a stronger prescription for distances. Now, when I attempt to line up handgun sights while wearing my eyeglasses, the 3 white dots are large blurs and I can't even tell which one of the three is the front sight. When I shoot at the range, I wear magnifying safety glasses so the front sight is crystal clear, but as others have noted, the target is out of focus. While getting old has it's drawbacks, I'm only 1 yr. away from retiring so I'm not complaining!
     
  13. AR-15Nutt

    AR-15Nutt Member

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    Mike, what is your vision problems, mine is black spots in my peripheral vision which cause me to think something is coming up on me, then i am distracted for a moment.
     
  14. Gaffer

    Gaffer Member

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    My problem was a macula hole in the retina and even after surgery there is enough distortion that it is very difficult to use sights now.
     
  15. wally

    wally Member

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    This is why they invented red dot optics. You focus on the target and look through the dot to align it.

    Focusing on the front sight is a distant memory for me unless I wear "reading glasses" which are terrible for anything but sitting still and reading. I tried a bi-focal "cheater" safety glasses early on but: one, I wouldn't likely have them if I needed my carry gun; and two, the angle I had to hold my head at to see the front sight was unnatural and quickly made my neck hurt.

    All my range favourites and carry pistols now have red dots. Trijicon RMR dual illuminated for the carry pistols since they don't use batteries.

    Of course none if this helps much if the problem is macula degeneration.
     
  16. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Red dot optics are becoming popular and address the aging eyes issue. Common on rifles and shotguns. They are appearing on pistols and glock is selling some new models ready to put them on.
     
  17. wally

    wally Member

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    FN & S&W have done this for several years now, but these are all full sized pistols. For a CCW you still have to improvise a bit.

    As acceptance grows, I expect/hope for guns like the Shield or Glock 43 they would cut a deal with Trijicon to integrate an RMR dual illumination sight into the slide.

    Generally the slides of the small sub-compact CCW pistols are not wide enough to be milled for the optic sights and the sights "hang over" the sides of the slide. I can live with it for the much better shooting I do with them and it makes a nice "handle" for slide racking, but carry would be easier/better if it didn't hang over.
     
  18. King_Hugh

    King_Hugh Member

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    I have issues since I got bi-focals...so my solution is to take them off. It takes too much time to jog my head around and get a clear focus on the front site so I take them off focus as much as I can with my bare eye and shoot. My accuracy has improved and my speed is up.

    Pray it never happens but if I ever do end up in a firefight at more than bad-breath-distance I'll have to flick my glasses off and take care of business.
     
  19. urbaneruralite

    urbaneruralite Member

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    I have been legally blind since the third grade. I tend to shoot well enough with eyeglasses or contacts. I just line up this fuzzy thing with that. Can't imagine what it'll be like when I get older!
     
  20. mikemyers

    mikemyers Member

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    Unless you've already done so, you should see an ophthalmologist. Black spots floating around can either be "floaters" (harmless), or signs of a detached retina (need immediate treatment).


    Seems to me that most people here (myself included) really need a set of glasses with a prescription for distance to front sight. Maybe not too good for CCW, but for that, red-dot sights sound like a good compromise.
     
  21. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Member

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    Getting old sucks! Anything without night sights get painted with white and green paint.

    I gave up shooting any rifles with iron sights. :cuss:
     
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