Sighting the tool

Q I was told at my last eye test that I have 20/20 vision in both eyes.
I am longsighted by about +1.75 dioptres but was told I don’t need glasses yet, which I was pleased about.
However, I have lately found I get tired eyes half-way through a shoot and start dropping birds that I would hit at the start.
If my eyesight is 20/20 why is this happening?
Phil Crowton, Exeter

A “20/20” is a US measurement (in feet) of Visual Acuity – how well we see – and this equates to our British 6/6 notation, which is in metres.
However, both of these denote average vision, what we would expect to see with healthy, well-developed eyes.
In a Sporting context, it is best to strive for better than average, and I’m sure that if the +1.75 was corrected, you would see even better. What is most important here is not just what you see but how you see it – this is what a sports vision optometrist will assess.
In your case, your visual system has to put in physical effort to focus through the +1.75. In young eyes this can be straightforward for short periods of time, but older eyes and longer periods of concentration (such as half-way through a shoot) can cause this to begin to break down giving rise to fatigue, headaches and possible alignment issues.
If you don’t like the idea of glasses, a good-quality daily contact lens could be an option. Just like an expertly fitted gun, shooting specs and/or contact lenses are a tool to make life easier and help you perform to your best. Ed Lyons

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