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Old March 31, 2013, 12:05 PM   #1
Join Date: March 10, 2013
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Prescription glasses and shooting - question

I wear glasses for distance, but only use them when driving. But I find that when I wear them now that I am just North of 50 I have difficulty focusing on close objects. When I want to check my phone I take them off to be able to see things clearly. So, my question is what should I do when shooting. I have been wearing the glasses so I can see the target accurately but I am not able to focus very well on the front sight. I can see it fine, but it is not sharp - does that matter. I tried shooting today with plain safety glasses instead. Doing that I can focus sharply on the sights but the target is kind of fuzzy. So, which option do you think is better?
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Old March 31, 2013, 12:28 PM   #2
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Have you tried progressive bi-focals? It's what I have and I don't have any problems.
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Old March 31, 2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Get yourself to an eye guy for a prescription for SHOOTING ONLY glasses that'll focus your eye at a slightly longer distance (front sight of your handgun or front sight of your rifle).
I had to do that years ago.

Explain exactly what you need & what the prescription has to do for you.
When you order the glasses, specify either hardened glass or plastic lenses.
The target will still be at least slightly out of focus.
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Old March 31, 2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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I can tell you a couple of things. First, you should always be able to focus clearly on the front sight. Second, you, nor anyone else, has ever been able to focus on both the front sight and the target and have them both be clear at any age. It's just not possible for anyone to do this. If you can see the front sight sharp and clear and the target is a little blurry in the background you don't need to do anything. Your problem arises when you can't get the front sight sharp and clear without wearing glasses. I'm in my mid sixties. Up until I was in my late forties I had 20/15 vision in both eyes. Since then, they've gotten worse. I now have 20/20 in my right eye and 20/25 in my left. I can't focus sharp and clear on the front sight but I can focus sharp and clear on the target. It gets harder with age to focus on near objects (your arms become too short with age). What you can do at that point is get a pair of shooting glasses made to focus at the distance your front sight is from your shooting eye. I just had a pair made to give me good focus at 28" from my eye. It's not as good as being young again but it keeps me in the game. See an optomitrist who is knowledgible about shooting and understands what you're looking for. If you go to one who isn't they can make the glasses up for you but they never get the optical center where it needs to be in shooting glasses, and that's in the upper left of the lens for a right handed shooter.
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Old March 31, 2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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My eye doctor suggested even before I asked that I (safely) bring a pistol to my exam. Holding the pistol in shooting position we got the best possible lens for my right eye to focus on the sights and set the left eye for distance. Also made sure they were safety lenses, couldn't be happier with the results. My only apprehension was that the lobby to the building he was in was also the lobby of a bank. I sure was hoping that no one recognized my pistol case.
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Old March 31, 2013, 05:13 PM   #6
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That's the best kind of eye guy to find.
Works with mine.
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Old March 31, 2013, 10:11 PM   #7
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I like your doctor's attitude. Getting older, I can only focus on one thing at a time and a clearly defined front sight works best for me. The rear sight and the target look a little fuzzy around the edges, but the center of either is still the center even if the outside edges aren't clear.
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Old March 31, 2013, 11:44 PM   #8
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My optometrist had a putter in the exam room for just that purpose. Told me to hold it up so the end was where the front sight would be. Measured the distance and I now have prescription shooting glasses. Work well for PC monitor distance too.
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Old April 1, 2013, 04:48 PM   #9
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My carry class instructor said to wear whatever glasses allow you to see the front sight the best.
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Old April 2, 2013, 08:31 PM   #10
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Electrician's Glasses

My optometrist recommended what he called electricians glasses. Electricians use this configuration for working over their heads with wiring in junction boxes.
The part of the lenses that is for close viewing, is in the top of the lense. When you want to aim your pistol, your head is tipped down and not up at the ceiling, which gets uncomfortable. I also brought a new number 2 pencil with an eraser and a couple of straight pens. I put a pin in the eraser and held the pencil at arms length while we got the prescription for the distance correctly set. I liked that set up much better than having to tip my head back and look through my bifocal at the bottom of the lense. My optometrist only charged me about $20 for the second prescription for the electrician style glasses.
The nice thing about this setup is you can do all of your regular things like drive and other stuff and just tip you head down for a clean focus on a close object. Also great for working over your head.
"The historical cycle seems to be: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more."
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Last edited by OkieGentleman; April 2, 2013 at 08:35 PM. Reason: addition
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:11 PM   #11
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As OkieGentlemen mentioned, there are a lot of hobby based lens out there. If a progressive does not work out well for you and the OD you see isn't keen with the prescription, you can also do what is called an Executive Bifocal. The Executive is basically a bifocal that is cut directly across the lens. The electrician bi-focal is essentially this with the intermediate/reading on top and distance on bottom, but can also be configured vice versa. Working at Lenscrafters we sadly have few options as far as multifocal shooting len's being defined, HOWEVER, there are options.

We do carry a lens called the Premium PC lens, this is an executive but without a line. Problem is you'll need the doctor to draw up a sort of weird prescription or have an Optician who knows what he is doing write in the prescription to create the desired effect. (the prescription for our system has to be put in as a regular multifocal prescription and the lab who makes them compensates the value to make the top an intermediate prescription and bottom a reader. which you want distance on top, or bottom.)

As far as progressives there are options out there to try. Best len's I know of is the Varilux Physio (Crizal Alize is just a way to add 300 dollars to the bill, Premium Anti Reflective is made by the same company and much cheaper, crizal just increases colors and definition.) They advertise edge to edge clarity (no loss of focus points along edges of lens) and I've had a couple of people tell me they had to really look to find it.

Oakley also makes several sportcentric lens designs that are for focused tasks, I couldn't find any website that shows all the different designs sadly however if you stop by any Oakley dealer they should have a book that has them all. One thing about len's designs is there are so many, and I have limited knowledge to much outside what I deal with on the day to day.

Overall, eye care is a very customer oriented service so I definitely suggest going over all of your options with your OD and also with a licensed optician. Happy Shooting and I hope this was useful and not just a useless block of text.
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:21 PM   #12
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Here is a link to an older gunblast link I had a pair made and works great hope this helps others...
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:23 PM   #13
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You might talk to a Optometrist who specializes in Industrial Safety glasses. American Optical and most of the other Industrial glass houses have a prescription form which allows the dispenser to specify the exact placement of the grindings.
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Old April 3, 2013, 09:28 AM   #14
Frank Ettin
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I've worn progressives for over ten years. My normal prescription has worked well for me for shooting and is what I've been using in my shooting glasses. I've used the same set up for handguns, rifles and shotgun (trapshooting and wingshooting).
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:24 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
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I use progressives also. I've thought about it and decided that I want to compete and practice in the glasses I wear everyday. Since my competition is to keep up skills for SD - I thought that was the way to go.

One thing about eyes - I had cataracts come on very quickly. I didn't think they were that bad until I did a dark room exercise and couldn't see the life like target at all. It was dressed in black and I walked right by it. Looked like a total idiot. Then driving became weird. Both eyes done and just fine now.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:47 PM   #16
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I use progressive lenses, but I don't for shooting. I use a different pair of larger diameter prescription lenses (for protection) with only my distance prescription on them knowing that the rifle sights won't always be crisp and clear. I try to focus on the front sight and the target, and I do the best that I can.

When I bowhunt, I do not use my progressives at all when I'm in a tree. It's too hard to identify a target from 20+ feet up while looking through the lower, progressive half of the lenses while looking down at the ground. I also find it harder with a rifle and scope in a tree hunting as well, so I leave them in a case in my pack while I wear my distance-only prescription shooting glasses instead.

It's heck getting old.
Take a kid shooting.
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Old April 4, 2013, 05:45 PM   #17
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the front sight is your point of aim. hold that on a target and you will do just fine.
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Old April 4, 2013, 06:05 PM   #18
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With handguns, I wear my "computer glasses" which have a focal length about equal to the length of my outstretched arms or the distance to my desktop computer screen.
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Old April 4, 2013, 10:45 PM   #19
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I had my shooting glasses made with the bifocals smaller than regular glasses have, about 2/3 the size. They are not in the way for shooting, primarily shotguns, but I can see fine objects up close when needed.
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