Seeing Skeet

Q. I am a 40 year old right handed, right eye dominant shooter and I shoot with both eyes open. I mainly shoot Skeet and a little Sporting. This year I have been having difficulty with my high house left to right Skeet birds as I am regularly shooting behind them. I have to put a seemingly large amount of lead on them, which then doesn’t translate from right to left.

I wear monthly disposable contact lenses and have noticed that my right eye is not quite as sharp as it used to be, although this doesn’t happen all the time. My eyes feel hot and gritty towards the end of a shoot. I have purchased some top quality shooting glasses which are good, but don’t appear to address the problem. Do you have any suggestions?

A. There are a few issues to investigate here. It is good to see you have developed a method of hitting the birds so I assume you have been shooting for a while. It would be interesting to discover what eye dominance grade you are (see the article in the February issue of Clay Shooting magazine) because if you have an element of middle vision or a left tendency you may be experiencing the phenomenon of dominance switch. As you are regularly shooting behind, this indicates your point of reference has moved, and the barrel is not pointing where you think it is.

Research has shown that in some individuals eye dominance can vary depending on the horizontal angle of gaze so a right eye dominant shooter may subconsciously switch to their left eye when looking at long distances in certain directions.

Couple this with additional features such as poorly fitting eyewear, a large nose which can cause occlusion, or a change in your prescription, and this may be the cause of your difficulty.

The first thing I would suggest is to have an eye examination and find the reason for the blur in your right eye – correcting this may give the right eye the sharpness it needs to maintain dominance.

Whether you need a new prescription or not, consider changing your contact lenses – monthly lenses are not ideal for shooting: they are good for the first week or so but can gradually spoil due to protein and lipid deposits, affecting comfort and of course, vision. If you have a dry eye tendency, then this can be exacerbated by old lenses. It is well worth investing in a few pairs of Daily Disposables for shooting so you have a fresh clean lens every time. Most prescriptions are available now, even catering for astigmatism.

Lastly, if the issue persists, try a dominance correcting device to give you that extra confidence. Your coach or Sports Vision optometrist will be able to advise which is the best for you.

Ed Lyons

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Posted in Ask the Experts, Skeet

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