Shooting and Vision

Shooting is the very essence of vision in sport - how can we hit a distant target, be it stationary or moving, if we cannot see it properly? This applies to all levels and disciplines of the sport: competitive target shooting requires the utmost levels of aiming skills and self-control.

It is very much an individual pursuit, requiring the competitive shooter to isolate him or herself from the external environment and exercise single-minded concentration on the task; accurately and repeatedly striking the centre of the target.

Rifle and Pistol Shooting
Commonly performed monocularly, and thus both visual acuity and dominance are important factors: The shooter needs to have a good view of the target, but must also be able to focus accurately upon the fore sight to align the barrel of the gun with it. This can become more difficult when we approach Presbyopia but can be compensated for with the correct equipment and prescription.

Changes to the dominant eye are also important - any refractive changes in the aiming eye can have a big impact upon the shot accuracy, however there are several accessories to help your sighting problems. These include tinted filters, blurring film and Easy Hit fiber optic foresight beads.

Clay Pigeon Shooting
A more dynamic discipline, and therefore eye speed and visual tracking are as important factors as visual acuity.

Contrast and Light Sensitivity are also important issues: Glare from overhead lights on an indoor range or from the natural sunlight when shooting outside may be debilitating to sensitive people - equally, those with a reduced Contrast Sensitivity may be adversely affected by misty/foggy conditions for instance when Clay Shooting outside. Iris Diaphragms are also useful for improving depth of sharpness and improving the contrast of the backsight and the target.

Optical filters are available as clip-ons for shooting spectacles: AC Blue is useful for when the sun shines directly on a target and glare reduction is needed. For increased contrast, use Yellow 20 for when the target is backlit or Kalichrome for maximum brightness. CPF filters are photochromic and thus react to the ambient light conditions.

It is also essential to have the appropriate visual protection against expelled gases and shrapnel from cartridges, as well as ricocheting shot. In fact, the CPSA (Clay Pigeon Shooting Association) have stipulated all contenders AND observers must wear eye protection at shoots.

Fortunately, there are practical solutions for these problems and the specially qualified members of Sportvision UK are ideally placed to advise and provide the appropriate appliances.

(Ed Lyons www.flintandpartners.co.uk)