Focus on Archery

31 01 2015

When you hear of famous archers in history, you can almost visualize them in their garb of the time and with different types of bows.  Robin Hood in his green felt hat (doubt he had tights on) and a recurve bow.  William Tell in maybe a Swiss type lederhosen outfit and a crossbow.  Minamoto no Tametomo in a Kyodo obi and kumi bow.  Okay, maybe THAT one doesn’t ring a bell.  He was a famous samurai that legend says sank a ship with an arrow.   More contemporaries are:  Fred Bear, Katniss from “The Hunger Games” and Legolas ( the elf), from the “Lord of the Rings” series also.  Then there is this guy, Lars Anderson.   That is some amazing skill right there.

Modern archers with a compound bow usually depend on being able to use a peep sight on the bow string up close to the eye.  It basically is a little round circle that you can “peep” through.  A front sight pin that extends a little further past the bow is aligned in the peep sight with the target.  Much like a rifle or pistol has a back sight and a front sight, both which have to be aligned with a target.  The human eye can only focus on one point at a time, so it is imperative with archery or firearms to concentrate on the front sight.  The back sight and the target are usually slightly blurred when you do so.

A problem occurs as we age though and we begin to lose our focusing ability up close.  After forty something years old, the crystalline lens in the eye begins to harden and cannot change shape as easily to focus on near  objects.  Sort of like an egg being fried and the protein in the egg yolk begins to change from runny to thick and then hard.  It’s not a muscle that is too weak and needs to be strengthened.  So that is why we ALL eventually have to have some help in the form of bifocals or even better, progressive lenses that can focus in all places (mis-labeled as “no-line bifocals” often times.)

So what do you do when the front sight pins of the bow begin to be more difficult to focus after forty?  The easiest way to compensate (there is a lot of compensating after 40) is to use what is called a “Verifier,” available from Specialty Archery.

It is a screw-in lens that is attached to the peep sight and allows for slight magnification to see the sight pins better.  I have not found out it if can be used in competitive archery or not yet but it’s not any different than wearing bifocal glasses to correct your vision so I wouldn’t think it would be against the rules.  It is not a scope to make the target magnified like a different product called a “Clarifier,” to be used with a scope and makes the target easier to see.

I recently prescribed a daily disposable bifocal soft lens to a forty year old competitive archer and he likes it for the time being.  He hasn’t ever worn glasses and still sees 20/20 far away.  He has been noticing it is not as smooth and easy to focus those sight pins quickly like it used to be.  I told him rifle and pistol shooters have the same problem after forty years old with open, iron sights.  The only thing you can do is either use some kind of scope or a peephole sight that extends the depth of focus of the eye.  Peepholes are fine for stationary, target shooting like Olympic shooters would do but are not practical for action shooting or even hunting.  This patient of mine wears the multifocal contact lens on his dominant eye and uses it just for shooting since he still reads fine without glasses…for now at least.   It focuses the sight pins better with a very slight blurring of the distance target but not bad within 50 yards.

So if you are over forty and not seeing those sight pins on your bow quite as well, good news!  There is hope for you in maybe more than one way.   Have your eyes examined for any uncorrected vision problem or eye disease first.  Unless you still want to blame your poor shooting on your eyes or your eye doctor.

Courtesy of Dumas Vision Source, PLLC and Dr Tory W. Moore, Optometric Glaucoma Specialist and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.    Serving the Dumas, Texas,  Moore County and upper Texas Panhandle area for 25 years.   Call (806) 935-2020 for appointment or visit our optical gallery without an appointment.  Visit our website for more information.  Like our Facebook business page:  Dumas Vision Source  and you can also connect on Twitter @eyedocdumas

Tory Moore, OD  – “A Hometown Eye Doctor You Know and Can Trust!”

10882341_10203593807146544_4781360562286953420_n (1)