Aging Vision and Shooting
I'm wondering how everyone here is handling their vision as they grow older. As we age, our eyes progressively lose the ability to change focus from near to far. I see many shooters struggling with bifocals or switching between lenses as they prepare to shoot, but I feel that that would prove extremely frustrating. I would love to hear more about the solutions other older shooters have found.
I already wear bifocal lenses. Trifocals would just add to my problems. Besides, the area where a specific shooting correction needs to be made is the upper inner corner of the appropriate lens.
There are ways to do this, chief among which is to have a "spot" balsam-glued to your lens. Spots come in a couple of sizes, and can be placed anywhere on a lens, so you can have a very localized correction.
You could have special shooting glasses, of course. But I don't like to carry extra glasses. I have enough in my pockets as it is. Further, do you really think that a bad guy would be kind enough to wait, while I shift to my special shooting glasses?
So I don't use any of these solutions.
All of my pistol shooting is defensive, close-range work. I don't even practice at greater distances than 20 yards. Up that close, and shooting that quickly, it really doesn't matter whether I'm focussing on my front sight or on my target. Something's going to be blurry, and it doesn't matter a bit. (Usually, I do focus on my front sight.)
When I'm shooting at the really close distances, or in low light, I don't use the sights at all. (No, that's not as nonsensical as it seems.) Instead, I use the entire rear-end silhouette of my pistol, to make sure that I'm aligned correctly on any kind of target. I am practiced enough to be able to tell just from that silhouette, whether or not everything is in correct alignment. It's called—slightly erroneously—"slide shooting."
Closer than that, or in the lowest light, I shoot without ever seeing the gun. That, too, is the result of a whole lot of practice. No, I don't "shoot from the hip" if I have time to raise the gun, because hip shooting is usually pretty inaccurate at anything past "bad-breath distance." Also, I never shoot in the total dark, because if you are in the dark you cannot properly identify, or even localize, your target. If it's that dark, I'll be using a flashlight.
For rifle shooting, I do concentrate on seeing my front sight—if I'm using iron sights. A rear "peep" sight takes care of the rest, centering my eye automatically, even though it looks extremely fuzzy.
However, most of the time I use a low-power scope. That takes me out to about 1,000 yards, for "practical" (not bullseye) shooting, assuming a good zero and an accurate range-card (attached to the rifle).
Scopes in general will put everything, scope, reticle, and target, all on the same plane of focus. You see everything clearly. Since the scope I use is the "Scout" style, placed between nine and 12 inches from my eye, it is correctly within my normal range of eyeglass focus.
For all of the shooting noted above, I use my "everyday" glasses prescription, ground into the upper part of my lenses. The lower part of the bifocal is only for reading. For really close and finicky work, I take my glasses off entirely.
(Oh, yeah... I forgot to mention age: I'm 73 years old.)
Does that help?
Good post Steve M1911A1
I'm 71 y/o
I also have gone to adding a green HiViz Fiber Optic Sight on a lot of my guns.
Here's one on a .22 I shoot
These green sights literally jump at my eyeballs - much easier for me to see quickly.
I still shoot competitively (not very well, but that's another story )
I hope this helps
I am 75 Y/O.
2 years ago I noticed I was having trouble seeing at night. Any kind of light would cause a flare and I would not be able to see. In the day time I was having trouble reading street signs. Cateracs. I underwent surgery to remove the cateracs and replace the lens in the Eyeball. I now have 20-20 vision and can see at night. The down side is, at close range, reading and gun sights, I need a little more light. So I have a little trouble at the range, where the lighting over the shooter is not that great. I am doing O.K. but could do better. working on a solution. Don't have it yet.
My wife, Jean, had the same cataract surgery as you experienced. She, too, now has better vision.
But, she still needs to wear corrective lenses (in her case glasses) to read or to do close-up work.
It's not a matter of available light, but rather one of focus capacity.
Artificial-lens implants cannot be focussed, because they are not flexible enough, and also because the focussing muscles are not attached to them.
They are pre-shaped to focus from "medium-close" to infinity, like the plastic lens of a cheap Kodak camera, but that still leaves "up-close" unaddressed.
You might try a pair of cheap magnifying glasses, purchased at your local drug store. Jean found that the "+2" magnification works for her.
(The range is "+1/2" through "+2 1/2" or even "+3".)
The lenses that were put into my eyes is a multi focal lense. Concentric focal areas. Simaler to a shooting target. So I am able to focus from close to far away with out problems. But up close I need extra light for the focusing to work properly. The doctor told me they were something new and not covered by insurance so the extra money came out of my pocket. The surgery was painless but the cost was very painful. Ouch.
I thought most of you were youngsters, I was born in the middle of the watts riots.
...And I was patrolling my block, very near a main Boulevard, with a concealed pistol.
I felt lucky that the riot didn't spread to West L.A.
I really appreciate all of the feedback. I think that's the sad truth of getting older, that we have to start wearing glasses. I'm learning that this doesn't have to be so bad! With all of the technology today, there are a variety of solutions which can help.
The condition that causes our eyes to progressively lose the ability to change focus from near to far is known as presbyopia, and it causes a lot of frustration as shooters lose accuracy. There are tons of vision tricks to offset the impact of presbyopia, such as using custom-made, cantilevered stocks and scopes.
I'd love to hear more tips for fellow shooters dealing with vision related problems out on the range!
Last edited by bruce333; 06-26-2011 at 08:17 AM.
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I am in my early 40"s and lately have a lil bit of a problem reading fine print. My vision was perfect before this observation. However on the range I have no problems as I do not need to read the writing on the targets. I am just hoping its a while before have to resign to wearing reading glasses.
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