View Full Version : Shooting with bifocal glasses

August 11, 2008, 11:45 AM
This question is for you older shooters like me who where bifocals. I have to use my bifocals to line up my sights in my handgun, and of course the target is more blurry than before. I also have to crane my head up to shoot, which is uncomfortable. Any one that wears bifocals with the normal glasses have this problem? are there any alternatives short of lasik eye surgery?:(

Capt. Charlie
August 11, 2008, 11:58 AM
Ain't growin' old grand? :D

Any one that wears bifocals with the normal glasses have this problem? are there any alternatives short of lasik eye surgery?
Trifocals, actually, and yes, they're a pain in the backside. I finally went over to contact lenses (one of the best decisions I ever made). My shooting glasses are a pair of generic reading glasses that you can get at just about any pharmacy. I held a 6" stick out at arm's length and kept trying different strength glasses until I could focus on the end of the stick. It actually works pretty well, but the target does remain fuzzy.

My eye doc explained to me that the eye looses its ability to change focus to different distances as we age. Nuthin' we can do about that :(.

August 11, 2008, 12:01 PM
Oldjarhead ~

Two possibilities, a cheap one and a not-so-cheap one.

The not-so-cheap one is just to get shooting glasses made for yourself. I know several shooters who have done this. You can go in and tell the optometrist you need a clear focal point at (measurement in inches) from your eye, and they can build you glasses to fit that point. Or you can tell them you need upside-down bifocals, with the close lens at the top and the distant lens at the bottom. It doesn't cost any more than regular bifocals, but you'll have to get the eye exam and then buy glasses.

The cheap method? Just get yourself a magnifying sticker ("stick on bifocals" like these (http://www.safetyglassesusa.com/optx-20-20-stick-on-bifocals.html)) to put in the right place on your regular glasses. They really work.


August 11, 2008, 12:25 PM
I have progressive. I've learned where the front sight is in focus, and I adjust my head angle accordingly.

August 11, 2008, 12:36 PM
I'm not getting my glasses fixed, that's the excuse I use for my low scores!!;)

August 11, 2008, 01:04 PM
I have too much astigmatism for Lasix. I cant wear contacts. I'm too busy to go get shooting glasses. I therefore suffer. When I am behind a rifle, I look like a pigeon as I bob my head to get the reticle in focus.

A fat hairy pigeon.

WildbutgoodforhustleAlaska ™

August 11, 2008, 07:04 PM
My eye doc explained to me that the eye looses its ability to change focus to different distances as we age. Nuthin' we can do about that

Not much we can do and not sure if it would be practical for you but by introducing an Iris into the system you might be able to increase your depth of field. WARNING I am not an opthamologist and may be in error.


Sorry I do not know how to copy the picture :confused: ( I wish I was a compugeek :o )

The Original - Attaches Firmly To Glasses - Eliminates "Fuzzy" Sights

Instantly adjustable aperture mounts directly on prescription or shooting glass lens to improve eye focus, thereby eliminating iron sight and target "fuzzing". Raises scores and lets both rifle and pistol shooters keep shooting even when the eyes won't focus as well as they used to. Thin, sharp, aperture edge gives crisp sight picture. Suction cup mounting won't scratch or mar lens, holds tight for one-handed adjustments.

SPECS: 5/8" (15.9mm) O.D. x ¼" (6.3mm) thick disc. Aperture adjusts from .020" (.508mm) to .155" (3.94mm). 9/16" (14.3mm) diameter suction cup.

Catalog page 275

There are also glasses for target shooters made using the same principle.

Good luck. I am struggling with the same problem :(


August 11, 2008, 07:20 PM


Almost the same thing can be done with black vinyl tape and a small punch. Not as elegant, or expensive, but it works.

Frank Ettin
August 11, 2008, 07:24 PM
I've also worn progressive lenses for years and have no trouble.

August 11, 2008, 07:46 PM
I get by with regular reading glasses. The sights sharpen up and the target gets a little blurier but hey, as mentioned before it is a great excuse!
The only problem is I don't wear them regularly and for SD I don't think anyone's going to wait around while I fish them out of my pocket! At normal SD ranges I am ok but this will gradually become more of a problem. Getting old sucks but it beats the alternative!

August 11, 2008, 09:09 PM
When I first had to get glasses, I discussed this with my Optometrist.

I got the no-line tri-focals, with the "line" cut high. I took my carry pistol in with me and he had me take my target stance and my SD stance. He then cut the sighting portion to give me sight of my front sight, and sight of my target if I lift my eye (not my head) slightly.

We then moved to my iron-sighted rifles and we put a stick-on spot on the upper, left corner of my right lens. This spot is 1 diopter (for me) and is cut from a lens intended to put on sunglasses as a bifocal spot. It takes less than a day to ignore that it is there, unless your head is down on the stock.

The piece I cut out of the large lenses furnished in the package is about 1/8 inch by 1/4 inch. I'm still working on the original pair of stick-ons I bought in about 1990. The only time I lose one is when the gal at the optometrist's cleans my glasses while I'm being examined. I have most of them trained, but there is sometimes a new gal. They look so pretty when they blush. :D;):D


August 11, 2008, 11:07 PM
I have progressive. I've learned where the front sight is in focus, and I adjust my head angle accordingly.

Same here. Progressives can bring anything into focus as you learn to use them. For target shooting, I adjust my head up or down, as mentioned above, and bring the front sight into sharp focus. Works well for precise target work.

However, it isn't a practical solution to combat shooting, since the focus point is very limited, and must be just perfect. For anything but sighting in guns and varifying the zero, I shoot the fuzzy sights--- just like I'd have to do in a parking garage when I run into Bubba and his friends.

I might even suggest that not being so precise can be an advantage in that it lessens the "sights are on target--now!" syndrome that jerks the trigger while trying to be too precise. Not to say I wouldn't like to have my 20yr. old eyesight back. :D

I'm going to ask my optometrist if I can get glasses with that narrow focus point (front sight distance) enlarged at the expense of reading and long distance.

August 12, 2008, 12:18 AM
That is what I am talking about in my post above. They are accustomed to expanding the medium distance portion of the lens nowadays, because of so many using computers. The theory is similar.


August 12, 2008, 01:44 AM
I have the same problem with bifocals. With glaucoma, cataracts and living in California where the AMA has decided that guns are a social disease, I can't get any help from my eye Doc.
My solution.........Laser Grips.

Shawn Dodson
August 14, 2008, 03:07 AM
Try focusing on the target instead of the sights.

To learn how to do this simply acquire your normal sight picture, focusing hard on the front sight. When you're satisfied with your sight picture shift your focus past the front sight to the aim point on the target. You *should* be able to still see the alignment of your front and rear sights (often called a "soft focus"). Shift your focus back to the front sight and then back to your aim point several times. This exercise develops your ability to shoot accurately using a target focus. Shift your focus one final time from front sight to aim point, then press the trigger. Your bullet *should* hit the aim point - right where you were looking.

Target focused shooting allows you to shoot accurately without the need for fancy gizmos (specialized bi-focals, detachable apetures, Lasik, etc.).

I wear bifocals. The technique works very well for me. Give it a try.

Good luck!

Steve H
October 28, 2010, 07:59 PM
I found this thread when searching for discussions about prescription eyewear for shooters. I'm wondering how everyone's vision concerns have resolved. I'm a seasoned shooter with bad eyesight myself, and have a few tips of people are still interested. I would love to hear more about these solutions have worked for other shooters.


October 29, 2010, 08:02 PM
From an Old Squid to an Old Jar-Head: I tried all of the above, spent a lot of money on glasses; BUT, in a SD fight are you going to say "hold on there fella while I get my shootin specs on". I forced myself to learn to shoot with the bi-focals I wear every day. However, when I'm on the range and I have to qualify I grab my high dollar shootin glasses complete with upside down progressive tri-focal transition safety glass, but if you’re going to cc then you need to practice with your street bi-focals too. I apologize if I sound patronizing but you being a Jarhead and all…..:D:D:D