View Full Version : Problems with Vision, Blurry targets with Iron Sights

March 12, 2011, 09:35 PM
I'm having some vision problems that are effecting my shooting. I can't seem to focus on targets when I close my non-dominant eye while shooting through peep or open sights. I can use a reflex sight and shoot with both eyes open without a problem, I tried an eye patch on my non dominant eye and it helped, but I still have problems focusing in my right eye (right eye dominant.) I wear glasses and have a current prescription and a checkup just last year, but I made another appointment with my eye doctor. Anyone else ever have this problem? Scopes don't bother me, the magnification of the scope seems to help me focus on targets. It doesn't matter how quickly I acquire a target either, as soon as I look down my sight at a target it will be blurry, and when I'm not looking down the sights it is clear. I focus on the target first, but I've tried focusing on the front sight post first and then re-focusing on the target and it doesn't matter.

March 12, 2011, 09:48 PM
Depending upon your firearm(s) of choice, Burris makes a really small unit that mounts right on the rear of the gun.



chris in va
March 12, 2011, 09:50 PM
That's an odd one, not sure how it's possible.

So when you bring the handgun or rifle up and shoulder it, the target itself becomes blurry? What happens if you lower the barrel and front sight down, still blurry?

I shoot with both eyes open. Maybe you're squinting too much.

March 12, 2011, 10:12 PM
I agree that I may be squinting too much, and when I lower the rifle the target is clear. That's what confuses me, why is the target blurry when I'm looking down the rifle through peep sights, or open sights (its not better with either sights, nor worse)

I can group fairly well at 25 meters and I can qualify sharpshooter on Army pop up qualifications easily, but I'm trying to get expert (36/40 or better) and for my own personal shooting. I can barely see the 300meter and the only reason I know it is up is because I memorized the pop up target order.

March 12, 2011, 10:15 PM
Try this:

Get some bright stickers with the wax-paper backing. White, red, or orange are best.

Take a set of hobby hole punch pliers, and use a soft buffer against the anvil.

Punch out a pair(a few extra won't kill you, considering the size) of the bright dots.

Install them evenly on the rear of your back iron sights.

Now when your focus blurs out of field towards the target, you'll still be able to
see the rear sights enough to use them.

liberty -r- death
March 12, 2011, 10:55 PM
May want to get your blood pressure checked. Sometimes changes in blood pressure can affect vision.

Laser sights might be something to consider.

March 12, 2011, 11:01 PM
Could be your far sighted and when you focus on a close object all other blurr's time for bi-focals and yes even if your not that old. I have to use'em.

March 12, 2011, 11:06 PM
You have an appointment, have the doctor check for cataracts.

March 13, 2011, 12:28 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, many variables in this equation, I just hope I don't have any other health issues and a simple prescription lense can fix this.

March 13, 2011, 12:37 AM
Ask for a Retinal Photograph (Fundus camera) it will show whether you have any pressure behind your eye's. Its a standard test it should be about $30 dollars, your insurance might cover it.

March 13, 2011, 03:44 AM
Also have the doc run labs to check for diabetes. An A1C test is the best indicator rather than a random one time glucose.


March 13, 2011, 02:46 PM
I have the same problem.
It's old age.
And probably a little of all the above mentioned ailments.
Difficult to impossible to have enough depth of perception to see both far and near.
Focus on the sights and the targets go blurry.
Focus on the target and the sights go blurry.
To fix,
I use two strength lenses in my shooting glasses, left for far and right for close.
With both eyes open, the target and the sights are pretty clear.
Since the eye doctors never got this right, I just use drugstore glasses and mix the lenses.
Cheap and effective.

Lost Sheep
March 13, 2011, 06:15 PM
The wisdom of age does not come alone.

I used to be able to read other people's newspapers from three airline seats away. Not any more.

Normal aging, diabetes, cataracts, high blood pressure have all been mentioned. Glaucoma will do things to your vision, too.

A retinal exam will allow a doctor to visually see the condition of the blood vessels at the back of your eye, which will give him an indication of the condition of the smaller blood vessels throughout your body. Consider it an early warning system.

You don't have to be beyond 30 years to start having these effects show up, either, though they are nearly 100% common above 60.

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or the internet, but I do have some experience with the above named diseases/conditions. And I pay attention to my doctors.

Good luck, good health.

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep
March 13, 2011, 06:22 PM
I have the same problem.
It's old age.
And probably a little of all the above mentioned ailments.
Difficult to impossible to have enough depth of perception to see both far and near.
Focus on the sights and the targets go blurry.
Focus on the target and the sights go blurry.
To fix,
I use two strength lenses in my shooting glasses, left for far and right for close.
With both eyes open, the target and the sights are pretty clear.
Since the eye doctors never got this right, I just use drugstore glasses and mix the lenses.
Cheap and effective.
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows
Some pilots use the same trick, one lens set up for intermediate distance so they have a good view of the instrument panel and one lens for distance, the better to see other airplanes.

I know of at least one shooter who has his (shooting) eyeglasses built upside down. Most multifocal lens glasses have near at the bottom, midrange in the middle and far at the top. He has the top 30% of his trifocals focused at the distance of his front sight. The bottom 70% is normally distributed prescriptions.

Good luck

Lost Sheep

March 14, 2011, 06:24 AM
Road Warrior, . . . 66 yrs old here, . . . closing on 67 fast, . . . same problem.

Have worn corrective lenses for over 50 of those years (when I feel like wearing them :D), . . . with my vision being darn near perfect from 18 inches out to about 60 inches. Everything else is to one degree or another, . . . fuzzy.

My technique is to first focus on the target as I am bringing the weapon into play (shotgun, . . . pistol, . . . rifle, . . . doesn't matter), . . . then ease my focus back to the front sight and keep it there.

I know in my head what the target is, . . . where it is, . . . and what part of it I want to hit. Putting that front sight where it needs to be WILL ACCOMPLISH that. BUT, . . . you have to stay focused on the front sight.

Last year I traded off a Christmas present, . . . trophy scope, . . . because I wanted to get back to shooting irons, . . . this is my technique, . . . and I don't mind bragging just a bit, . . . when I say I did almost as well with my AR a few months ago using irons as a friend of mine did with his big old 50 mm scope on his AR. If we had been shooting a standard 50 ft slow fire pistol target, . . . he would have shot in the low 80's / high 70's with no X, . . . I would have been in the low 70's with 1 or 2 X.

Remember, . . . transition from the target to the front sight, . . . and shoot, . . . concentrating on that front sight.

May God bless,

NC Cruffler
March 19, 2011, 10:16 AM
Lyman's Hawkeye diopter helps me with iron sights on 100 meter targets. Suction cup on lens of dominant eye, orifice moved to best sight picture. Non-dominent eye closed.


Lyman Diopter at Midway-USA (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=936878)

March 25, 2011, 09:04 AM
I have the same problem. I have astimatism as well as partial cataract. What really helps me is an adjustable iris that I purchsed at Championshooters.com.

March 25, 2011, 09:20 AM
I have been wearing bifocals for years. Probably five years ago I got to where I have to crank my head back and look at the sights through the reading part of my bifocal. Kind of a PITA but it works for me. Of course the target is blurry in that case but the way I learned target shooting it is supposed to be. The sights are sharp, target blurry and area aiming , rather than trying to hold on the exact POA.

March 25, 2011, 10:03 AM
For most of us 'older' shooters, it's no longer possible to see the sights and the target clearly without help. Many resort to scopes but there is an easy way to gain dramatic results without touching the sights on your firearms.

Increasing your Depth of Field (the area where all items appear in sharp focus) is possible by reducing the aperture you look through. The smaller the aperture and the closer you place it in front of your eye, the longer the DoF will stretch.

That's why you can see more clearly without sunglasses because they cause your pupils to enlarge because of the lower light. Also, that's why many people can see small items better if they squint at them.

So, how does one accomplish this amazing feat? Simply take some black electrical tape and cut out blanks using a hole punch. Then punch a tiny hole in the middle and stick it to your glasses where you sight through them to shoot.

The smaller the aperture, the longer the DoF will appear so keep the center hole tiny. Using the glasses below, my DoF is almost unlimited and I can clearly see the front and rear sights as well as the target even though it may be over 100 yds away!

Because the aperture is too close to your eye for it to focus on, the tape spot will appear to be a faint ghost image that doesn't block your vision at all. The center aperture will appear very large because of it's closeness to your eye and you'll just notice that everything inside it is sharp and clear. In addition, because it is so small, it won't interfere or block your normal field of view.

This add on aperture works with progressive lenses as well as regular prescription lens. You don't need any special glasses at all. Just make sure that you keep the center aperture clean and you'll be amazed at the difference.

They work great and best of all..................they’re free!!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 25, 2011, 11:26 AM
Impaired/blurry vison in the center of your field of vision -- i.e., where you are intently focusing w/ iron sights -- is one of the classic signs of macular degeneration. If a small aperature/rear peep doesn't clear up the front sight (the target will always be blurry) consider having the Opto/Opthomologists check for that. If caught early it can be dramatically slowed and/or countered using other optical sighting methods.

March 25, 2011, 12:50 PM
Will turn 67 in a few months, and the same problem. Kraig was correct, I went to see about glasses and have two cataracts. Will have them taken care of, but will take time.

In the mean time I will shoot with a blurry target. I do remember what it's supposed to look like. Getting old is hell.

March 25, 2011, 12:53 PM
BTW: I went in and had a pair of fixed-focus glasses made for 30" (rifle and pistol eye-to-blade) distance. That also helped.

March 25, 2011, 02:15 PM
Eagle0711. I had the same deal last year. I had both eyes fixed about six months ago...what a difference. Color is more vivid and it makes a huge difference on the range.
To the OP. Get checked for cataracts. My impression, from seeing the large numbers going for surgery, is they are more common than most people realise.

Old Grump
March 25, 2011, 06:05 PM
50' or 1000 yards, the target should be blurry and the only thing that should be in focus is your front sight. Get them eyes open and concentrate on that front post because that is the thing that needs to be centered in the rear sight notch or aperture. If you are shooting good you may not have as much problem as you think you do.

Do this. Stick your thumb up in the air at arms length and if you can focus on it, if you can see the little striations and the quick and the white and the little edge at the top of the nail clearly you can focus on the front sight because rifle or pistol that is where it is.

A lot of us need prescription glasses. A pair of glasses tinted with safety lenses ground for a 30" focus, + or - an inch or two, whatever your particular need is will serve you good. The target will never be in focus.

nc eyedoc
March 25, 2011, 08:13 PM

]Get checked for cataracts. My impression, from seeing the large numbers going for surgery, is they are more common than most people realise.

EVERYBODY gets cataracts eventually (if they live long enough:) Usually in the 60+ range, but not uncommon in the fifties. There are two types of cataracts, nuclear sclerotic cataracts that make colors dull and objects blurry, and cortical cataracts, that just make everything blurry. The surgeon can, and usually should, attempt to make you just a little bit nearsighted after cataract surgery. That gives you the best all-around vision, near and far, and also just happens to give you great vision on the front sights. Many people don't realize that cataract surgery puts a new lens into your eye and can do great things to decrease your need for eyeglasses.

March 25, 2011, 08:16 PM

One more buzzkill, you are describing a possible manifestation of onset type II diabetes. That was one of my symptoms. I found out early enough that meds corrected most of the problem.


nc eyedoc
March 25, 2011, 08:28 PM

How old are you? Near problems usually start between 35-45 years of age. They happen on the earlier side if you are hyperopic (farsighted).

March 25, 2011, 09:28 PM
At age 70 the bullseye became blurred at 100 yards through the peep on my M1 Garrand. Had cataracts taken off and artificial lenses put on and bingo, clear bullseye. At age 73 blurred again. Doctor said film had grown over the artificial lense in right eye. Took him two minutes to laser it off. Again, the bullseye cleared. I am now 76 and it's still clear. Have your doctor check for cataracts.

March 25, 2011, 11:22 PM
There are different remedies for the target shooter, but for those of us who CCW we're stuck with what we have when going about our daily business.

Many of us shoot the fuzzy sights and it works reasonably well. The principle behind concentrating on the front sight is so that you don't anticipate noise and recoil and flinch, or lower the gun. That principle still works if the front sight you're focusing on isn't in focus. Concentrate on it, anyway. You can still see both the sight and target enough to get on it.

And, you have no choice-- it's always going to be out of focus. Except, as mentioned, for target shooting where you can wear special glasses or use different tools.:cool:

Ideal Tool
March 26, 2011, 12:35 AM
Hello, TheRoadWarrior. I purchased a Gheman diaopter clip on..adjustable pin holes, clips on glasses frame. I seem to be able to still shoot peep/tang sights with same precision..This helps with open sights. I'll never see 57 again. Best of luck!

May 10, 2012, 01:27 PM
I know this thread is long dead, but I figured I would get closure on this issue.

I have done something strange in order to help my right eye astigmatism.
I take off my glasses the day before I have a qualification range, let my eyes adjust to not having corrective lenses. The morning of the range my eyes are adjusted to not wearing anything and I don't have to squint.

I placed all five of my zero and grouping shots directly within the inner circle of a 25meter M16 zeroing target first time.

I qualified my best ever score of 36/40, which is expert. My eyes were adjusted to not having anything correct them, I was able to actually see the 300meter target without the blur! I felt my misses, it was because I jerked the trigger, not because of blurry targets or anything visual.

I did this because I'm deployed and cannot wear contacts. When I go home I can try wearing them and I know that it will obviously help my astigmatism, but this is a fix for now!

Thank you to everyone for your help and advice!