The cage felt confining. I couldn't move much or find a very comfortable sleeping position. I just sat there waiting, looking at the clinically clean room, the laboratory, all day waiting for the next time the people with white coats took me out to run their tests. It wasn't much of a life but at least they changed my water and gave me a treadmill-wheel to run on...
OK, so none of that is true...I'm not a lab-rat in a cage waiting for some asshole to test cosmetics on - I am involved in a series of experiments though - Experiments I submitted myself to!
Some of you may know I am a shooter and that I compete here and there in various shooting disciplines. What you may not know is that I wear glasses for reading and working on my computer.
I've only had the glasses for about a year or so and I've not used them whilst shooting as I haven't needed to. Progressively over the year though I've noticed that I'm having some difficulties focussing on the front sight of my handguns - A situation that causes inaccuracy and inconsistency - Two scenarios I am unwilling to accept as a competition shooter.
A little background about shooting: When shooting handguns one must have a front-sight focus [FSF]. This means that the front sight is in perfect focus, not the target and not the rear sight. This is what brings accuracy. Unless one runs a red-dot scope set-up on the gun (which is a different thing altogether) it's essential to have a good FSF.
I've noticed that I'm having difficulty finding a good, clear FSF and am convinced it's affecting my accuracy and speed of shooting - I shoot a discipline in which speed and accuracy combine for scoring purposes; Shoot faster and you score better overall, so inaccuracy and lack of speed puts competitors at a disadvantage.
My vision is very good usually (at distance), I just need a little assistance at arms length, which is exactly where my front sight sits when I'm shooting. The glasses help with computer-work and reading but with them on my face anything past arms length gets blurry - The greater the distance the more blurry it becomes. Not ideal for competitions.
What that means is that finding targets and movement, navigating rooms, barricades and the other obstacles the event throws up, becomes difficult, dangerous really I suppose considering I'm running with a loaded semi-automatic handgun - Seeing where I am going is advantageous. I tried shooting with my reading glasses on once which was great from the FSF perspective but I felt unsafe due to the blurriness and that's not a condition I find satisfactory.
The solution? Become a lab-rat. I called and spoke to my optometrist who suggested I come in and try to find an acceptable solution. He also told me to bring my guns.
This felt odd to me as the business is within a massive Westfield Shopping Centre where I would never take my guns usually however he said it's common-place with sports-shooters like me and so in I went. Last night. It felt very strange to carry a couple of handguns into a shopping centre however they were bagged and inside a backpack with no magazines included and certainly no ammo - Totally safe. I also didn't advertise what I had with me of course - Only the girls at the optometrist's reception desk knew as it was listed on my appointment notes.
We went through the usual tests exchanging this lens for that, reading sight-charts and getting a read on where things were at. It seems in the past year my near-vision has changed slightly (worse) but my distance vision is still very good. I pulled out the guns and we got a great FSF, totally clear and in focus, determining exactly the prescription required to do so. If you haven't done it, it's a process of swapping lenses around in a set of really strange glasses until the correct sight is obtained.
We discussed a couple of options from there, all of which I didn't like. The thing is that I need to be able to pick out targets at up to 50 metres away and as close as 2 metres plus run and navigate indoor and outdoor situations. Vision-distortion makes that very difficult, and probably quite unsafe. Speed is also an issue which wiped out one of his ideas completely. Hmm...What to do. Eventually we decided to experiment on me rather than make up costly sets of glasses that may not actually help.
He suggested contact lenses...Well, only one to be exact. That's where the experimental lab-rat part comes into play.
We are testing a contact lens, exactly the same as my prescription, in my right eye, the dominant one, and none in the left eye at all. I close my left eye when hand-gunning anyway. The concept is that when I am shooting the contact lens permits clarity and focus on the front sight and when transitioning, moving around and running (with both eyes open) I have the left eye to provide most of the distance-vision - The distance-vision of my right eye will be blurry due to the contact lens. Not ideal, but worth trying.
I hate contact lenses but he said, "suck it up princess", stuck one in and sent me out into the shopping mall to see how it felt from a vision perspective. Shit-house describes it well, but I persisted. Everything seemed blurry, as expected from my right eye, but I was able to get around without too much difficulty nonetheless. I went back in and played around with the guns a bit ensuring it gave me the FSF I required and we decided to give it a go in the field with a lab-rat test.
He gave me the two lenses you see pictured to try on two different occasions when shooting. They are single use so I'd need to keep replacing them but at $35 for a box of 30 they are not too badly priced. I shoot my handgun about 45-60 times a year so I'd need two boxes over the year, cheaper than the $550 set of glasses that is the option and considering my vision will continue to change I think it's a viable option.
To be honest I'm not sure how it's going to go as I'm not a big fan of contact lenses but it's worth a try right? The idea is to shoot using the contact lens in my right eye and evaluate the result, how it felt, how I shot etc. I'll probably do another blog about it at some stage about how it worked out. Keep an eye out for it. [See what I did there? Eye? Get it?]
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