Looking healthy: Shooting performance and health problems

Keeping an eye on the health of your eyes can be easy if the problem is visible. Ed Lyons looks at one of the less subtle problems that can occur

Ed Lyons looks at some areas that might not just affect your shooting performance but your eye health

I regularly get asked about ways to stop glasses from steaming up, and this can be a significant issue in the winter months as cold air and warm faces can lead to condensation.

Correct selection and fitting of eyewear is the starting point and it is not always best to go for the most curved frame, especially for those generous of face, as this can reduce airflow. Adjusting the nosepiece or the bridge to push the glasses a little further from the face can be helpful, but sometimes even this doesn’t fix the problem.

There are lots of over-the-counter products available that you can use to spray on or wipe the lenses of your glasses – motorcycle products from Muc-Off have been good and I have found Rodenstock’s antifog wipes to be effective, though there appears to be supply issues with these currently. One of my clients, Jeremy Baker, was finding this to be a regular issue so I experimented with venting his lenses to promote air exchange. It is still early days but the prototype looks good and initial feedback is positive.

I also wanted to discuss some other areas that might not just affect your shooting performance but your eye health.

Lumps and bumps

Being in the sun all day at shooting grounds can expose your skin to harsh light that can cause all sorts of health issues

As we have seen in previous articles, sometimes a client may come for an assessment to improve their sight, but we can opportunistically detect other general health issues that take priority.

Shown in the picture, a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a skin cancer. There are two main types: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. BCC is a non-melanoma cancer, and accounts for over 80 per cent of all skin cancer, where normal incidence in the population is less than 1 per cent in the UK. BCC are sometimes referred to as rodent ulcers.

The most common cause of BCC is too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or, nowadays, sun beds. BCCs can occur anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face, head, neck and ears. It is also possible for a basal cell carcinoma to develop where burns, scars or ulcers have damaged the skin. They are more common in men than women and mainly affect fair skinned adults.

A basal cell carcinoma can feel like nothing initially, but is worth getting checked out if you have any worries

Those with the highest risk of developing a basal cell carcinoma are:

  • People with freckles or with pale skin and blond or red hair.
  • Those who have had a lot of exposure to the sun, such as people with outdoor hobbies or who work out of doors, and people who have lived in sunny climates.
  • People who use sun beds.
  • People who have previously had a basal cell carcinoma.

Most BCCs are painless. People often first become aware of them as a scab that bleeds sometimes and does not heal completely. Some are superficial and look like a scaly red flat mark: others have a pearl-like rim surrounding a central crater. If left for years, the latter type can eventually erode the skin causing an ulcer – hence the name rodent ulcer. Other basal cell carcinomas are quite lumpy, with one or more shiny nodules crossed by small but easily seen blood vessels.

When assessing a patient, sometimes the diagnosis is obvious from its appearance. If further investigation is necessary a small area of the abnormal skin (a biopsy) or all of the lesion (an excision biopsy) may be cut out and examined under a microscope for testing and  confirmation.

Fortunately BCCs can be cured in almost every case, though treatment becomes complicated if they have been neglected for a long time, or if they are in an awkward place, such as near the eye, nose or ear. Seldom, if ever, do they spread to other parts of the body. But if you have any lumps, bumps or nodules, go to your local GP sooner rather than later.

Jeremy’s Experience

Jeremy Baker recently had vents added into his Pilla lenses and the benefits are showing

I’ve been shooting for five years now, and for the past four years I have shot competitions all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. I started with a cheap pair of shooting glasses and then bought a set of Pilla Outlaws, and I was finding results were on the up with help from Ed Solomons coaching but I wanted to put all my ducks in a line to be sure I could be the best I could be.

I booked a consultation with Ed Lyons at his Wolverhampton practice after long consideration as it was a large investment but I wanted to be sure of all aspects of my shooting.

I was finding longer midi targets slightly blurred but everything else seemed well. The consultation is incredibly thorough covering all aspects of vision linked to shooting targets, and it transpired I needed a prescription so opted for an insert to my Pilla system.

Though my vision was sharper, I couldn’t get on with the insert as I found it was grabbing my attention when shooting, so Ed offered me a solution of the 580 Sport system from Pilla.

He took a my insert back and countered the cost against the new glasses. Since then I have offered Ed challenges and he has quickly supplied options to aid my vision in competition situations, one of which was how to reduce the lenses fogging up in cold weather. I now have a five lens 580 Sport with specially vented lenses that I have total faith in.


This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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Posted in Advice and tips, Coaching

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