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Seeing the Sights

I have been in bifocals for the last 10 years or so. I've already done all of the things to my personal guns that I recommend to help your sights be more visible, but over time, the front sight was getting a little blurry and all I could do was tip my head back so I was looking through the bottom of my bi-focals. Not a great way to have to shoot!

Recently, I had my eyes examined and started talking with my ophthalmologist about not being able to get a clear focus on my front sight. I explained about tilting my head back and how this was not conducive to shooting. She was not a shooter, so it went over her head. But after I said, "you know, the front sight is about the same focal distance as I have with my computer screen and I have the same problem with the computer", she told me that I might benefit from a pair of “computer glasses”. I had brought in a blue plastic non-gun and she let me "aim it" while looking through the "Better or Worse machine" (you know the one!) until we tweaked the front sight into sharp focus.

In addition to new conventional bi-focals in my "street glasses", I had a second set of glasses made up with "computer lenses" in the top 2/3rds of the lense. That made an enormous improvement in my ability to see me sights! The computer lenses are between my upper and lower bifocal grind in power and I can now see my front sight like I did when I was a young man. So you might look into that too!

I also had a set of ballistic grade shooting glasses made, since I knew what kind of result I could expect. I had always been a little concerned about shooting with non-ANSII rated glasses, if something catastrophic happened. So I made the leap and contacted Decot Sports Glasses for a set of their "HY-Wyd" shooting glasses. A very knowledgeable lady named Laurie helped me and talked me through the options and took my order. A couple of weeks later, a package arrived from Decot. I am very impressed. I ordered the glasses with a set of clear lenses and a set of tinted lenses for outdoor use. The frame is durable, the lenses interchange easily. The kit included a rugged case, lenses cleaning cloth and solution. They convinced me to not do bi-focals on the shooting glasses and I'm glad I did. I can see well enough looking down to do everything that I need to without having the change in lense power which causes me to have to sometimes stop and refocus when I look down using the bi-focal computer glasses.

You can reach Decot Sports Glasses at

Update - 2020

I have been using both sets of the special glasses that I had made and I am delighted that I can see the sights like I did when i was a young man. One truth has come to me though. While these glasses work great shooting a handgun, they aren't anything I can wear on the street. So I am still doing my practicing with my street glasses and an HD front sight with a wide U notch rear sight. But the shooting glasses are on my noggin when I'm test firing customer guns, shooting IDPA matches or plinking.

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3/19/2019 1:21 AM
Thanks you! Was reading your blog, with my computer glasses on (pair of over the counter reading glasses) in a prescription similar to what you described. That was after checking what I had been thinking about, ordering on Harrison Design & Consulting, with my 1911 there on my computer desk... I reached up, and brought both sights into focus perfectly! This is about six months after having my second eye heal, from cataract surgery. I have not been back shooting as yet... (The Ophthalmologist suggested computer glasses, from an over the counter source.) Cataract surgery in its self, had made a huge change in my vision, went from 20/100 in left to 20/20, and 20/100 in right to 20/30. But that brought on worsening of my reading prescription from +1.5 to +2.5 left to +1.5 to about +2.6 right... But what a HUGE difference Cataract surgery made, colors were now light and bright, like I remembered! Like coming out of a dingy, yellow cave... Was the easiest procedure of a surgical nature ever! Putting in the eye drops before, and after was the biggest problem of the procedure... Or should I say remembering to put them in... And thanks for the link for as well!
3/19/2019 1:52 AM
Forgot to sign my comment about computer glasses...
Rick Statler
3/9/2020 8:20 AM
I worked in optics for 20 years and been successful with my dad, who been wearing progressive for 10 years now. He don’t read much and likes the reading at a minimum. This could depend person to person. I would go with a premium/wide corridor, this helps with peripheral. Then when measured ask for 2-3mm lower than recommend. This will give a better distance and intermediate for shooting. So you can where them all the time, computer glasses are basically intermediate and reading. Depending on the B( height size) of the frame you may have enough area for reading or close work.  If I was fitting John I would do this setup for shooting and daily, then a computer pair for his gunsmith work. Again premium wide corridor, they are more expensive but they give more focus area.
3/9/2020 10:37 AM
Well, my eyesight is perfect, but I'm not delusional. This was a fantastic article to log away in the memory banks. Someday I'm sure I will need to apply this knowledge. Thank you.
3/9/2020 3:32 PM
I’ve had really good luck with “monovision” contacts my optometrist set up.  Said he does it for lots of shooters and that some do great, others not for daily wear.   Master eye set for the sight distance and other eye set up as normal.  Works fine for me for daily wear, though I can tell they are not as good as my progressive for some things.  But, it was great to see the front sight again.  I didn’t realize how blurry it had become.
3/10/2020 12:55 PM
I had laser assisted cataract surgery and it eliminated my need for glasses for shooting and a lot of other things.  Prior to that I had the same problem everyone else my age (73) has. If you need cataract surgery it is worth it to get the laser component if you can afford the extra cost. If you don't need cataract surgery, I would say now that lasik may be worth it in the dominant eye; it's proven surgery now.  Just select your eye doc with care and you should be fine.
3/10/2020 11:10 PM
"If you don't need cataract surgery, I would say now that lasik may be worth it in the dominant eye; it's proven surgery now.  Just select your eye doc with care and you should be fine."

I inquired about doing eye surgery to correct my vision only in my dominant eye, with a plan to use glasses with a correction for my non-dominant eye.  (I wanted to leave one eye unmolested in case there were some long-term sequelae of the surgery that was not yet known.)
I also was cautious about jumping in with both eyes, as it were, due to horror stories from people I know who have had problems due to surgery -- bad night vision, etc. etc.

My eyesight is poor but correctable to 20/20 with glasses.  I was told that it would not be feasible given the differences between my left and right eyes.  The strong correction on the non-dominant eye would cause headaches, etc. etc.  That approach might well work for a person with mild vision correction, however.  

Hope this helps,
John F.
3/28/2023 4:04 PM
I had dedicated shooting glasses made similar to those you described.
I wear bifocals, and had the near-vision elements positioned as normal, with my everyday reading  correction.
The distance-vision was set with less correction to achieve good resolution at about arm's length.
The optical center is positioned toward the upper left of the right (dominant eye) lens. This puts the sweet spot in a comfortable location that conforms to my eye position while in shooting posture.