A Trip to the Optometrist!


As some of you may know, I have been struggling with my sighting for a while now. For those who aren’t in the loop, when you use aperture sights, the aim is to line up the target, the foresight element and the rear sight in perfect alignment. It should look roughly like the picture below… The slightly fuzzy dot in the middle is the target. It needs to be precisely centred in the inner ring (the foresight), which in turn needs to be centred in the white circle (the peep/rear-sight).


The system is very simple but surprisingly accurate! Our eyes and brains are very good at knowing when things are perfectly lined up. In this case the target is slightly off-centre – you can see that the shot would probably be in out at 4 o clock.

Every now and then I will see a sight picture like the picture above, usually only for a shot or two and usually on my sighters.  More often I will see a sight picture like the one below. The target is in-focus and the foresight is so out-of-focus that it disappears in some places (almost always at 4 o clock). The target and foresight element are distorted and the rear sight seems to be elliptical. It is pretty tricky to get everything lined up! (this isn’t even exaggerated – one thing I haven’t drawn in is how the other targets on the card appear to pop through the foresight rings!)


It is hard to shoot when you can’t see so I purchased a lens-holder for my rear-sight and booked an appointment at Black, Gates, Meek and Dong in Lower Hutt on recommendation of a shooting friend (thanks to everyone for all your suggestions – I decided to go with the optometrist closest to my house 😀 ). When I talked to them on the phone they seemed to know exactly what I was  talking about which made me feel good.

I was feeling a bit nervous before the appointment as it has been 12 years since I last had my eyes checked. It was pretty fun though! I am impressed by all the technology they use now. I got to see photographs of my retinas and my cornea maps and all sorts! The optometrist explained everything to me and was very helpful with making sure that the lens will help me focus in the right place (about 900mm from my eye).

So here is the low-down with my eyes…

  • I have healthy normal eyes
  • I have very slight astigmatism.
  • I am also a bit long sighted with excellent distance vision (but not so great close up).
  • My left eye is very strongly dominant (which means I should probably be shooting left-handed… too late! I am invested in being right handed now!).
  • I have been prescribed a lens to go on my rifle (Sphere +1.0, Cylinder -0.25, Axis 10 – for anyone who is interested!).
  • I do not need glasses at the moment (I already know this!) but I will by the time I am 45.

An interesting thing that I found out – I thought it was astigmatism that was causing the missing pieces and distortion in my sight picture but the optometrist thinks it is the longsightedness. She said that astigmatism usually causes fuzziness at all distances but longsightedness causes “displacement” rather than blur… very interesting!

And the highlight of the day was chatting to the man who will be fitting the lenses to my frame. When he was in school (maybe 20-30 years ago at my guess) he was a marker for the Ballinger Belt a few times… Sounds like marking hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years!

My lens should be ready tomorrow or early next week. It will be very interesting to try it out! I will post again when I have had a play.


  1. Rick

    Interesting sight picture. I had always use a ‘fatter’ foresight ring. This made me concentrate on focusing on that and then put the target blur in the middle of that. I think I have a little less white around the target as well. this was for fullbore shooting where it is important to get a ‘quick’ shot away and not hold on too long before the wind can change.

    1. VicVic (Post author)

      Yes I am afraid I didn’t draw the sight picture to scale!

      I also use a slightly fatter ring than the one shown and also a little less white around the target. I have tried a variety of thicknesses of foresight elements and have the same problem with the fat ones – It doesn’t quite disappear but becomes thinner in places. The fact is that I am not physically able to focus on the ring even if I am concentrating hard.

      I can’t wait for fullbore to start up again! 😀

  2. Rick

    Also interesting is the fact that the marking of the targets from the butts has in fact changed quite a lot in the last 30 years. While the principle on showing the last shot fired with a spotting disk on a peg in the shot hole hasn’t changed, the method of displaying the value of the score has. Targets used to have a backing board as a counter weight (before canter-lever targets were used) and a large square was moved on this backing board to show briefly the shot value. When the target was again raised the counter weight board went down with the value disk. Another method was to use a ‘paddle’ so a disk on a timber pole was briefly indicated on the target face for the appropriate value.

    1. VicVic (Post author)

      Very interesting thank you!

  3. Pingback: In which Vic can’t believe her eyes. | HotloadeD

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