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Hey all,

New guy here. I’ve already posted on the New Member Introduction section, so now I have a question.

Is anyone else a rifle shooter struggling with Macular Degeneration? I was diagnosed with it about 2 years ago, and it has slowly begun to steal my eyesight.

As you may have read in my Intro, I love doing rifle target shooting (as well as plinking and casual shooting, of course), and I’m trying to figure out ways to maximize the time I have left that I can still shoot.

Right now, I see well enough to use scopes and SOME iron sights. With both, I need to “scrunch around” to get the scope image/sight picture into the clearest area of my eye, but it’s doable. I’m sure as my sight gets worse, that area will become smaller and harder to find. Some iron sights are better for me than others, and I have to use a bit of guesswork as well.

One of the things that I can recommend to anyone else in this situation is trying different targets: different colors, different shapes, different backgrounds. I’ve been experimenting with printing some targets and modifying others, making my own reactive “ShootNC” targets, using brown paper grocery bags as backers, etc. I’ve found that my eyes see diamonds better than bullseye circles, that certain line thicknesses are easier to see, that certain colors are easier to distinguish, and that I need a lot more contrast than before the Mac Degen.

So...anyone else in this situation? Any tips/techniques to share?
 
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I recently had to get glasses, I didn't realize I couldn't see so great anymore until I got back on the range.
I make my own reactive targets.
My targets I buy the big sheets of pink green and orange flourescent poster board from the dollar store. 28"x22" $.75 a sheet
self adheasive clear contact film walmart
I think its 12"x10' $3.49
Black FLAT spray paint walmart. $1.70
Roll out the contact film the length of the poster board, then spray paint front, cut it.
I also throw some strips of masking tape on the back before painting keep painted side from curling inward too much.
Heres some I gotta paint.
I don't have any suggestions other than, the way I make my targets on the cheap.
Tell me about the grocery bags.

20210914_154410.jpg
 
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I recently had to get glasses, I didn't realize I couldn't see so great anymore until I got back on the range.
I make my own reactive targets.
My targets I buy the big sheets of pink green and orange flourescent poster board from the dollar store. 28"x22" $.75 a sheet
self adheasive clear contact film walmart
I think its 12"x10' $3.49
Black FLAT spray paint walmart. $1.70
Roll out the contact film the length of the poster board, then spray paint front, cut it.
I also throw some strips of masking tape on the back before painting keep painted side from curling inward too much.
Heres some I gotta paint.
I don't have any suggestions other than, the way I make my targets on the cheap.
Tell me about the grocery bags.

View attachment 1031935
I like your use of contact film; I’ve been using clear tape, with multiple strips across. Using a large sheet of contact film would make it easier.

I’ve also discovered the colored poster board at the Dollar Store. Got some hot pink last time I was there. I’ve found that display sheets (like those used in business meetings for charts) works well. Even though it’s only white, it’s inexpensive, large, and with some dark blue paint over the tape, the white holes show up well.

The grocery bags: the stores my wife does her grocery shopping at charges $.05 per bag. I take the handles off, cut the bag down each side, cut out the “base”, and tape the two sides together. The range I mostly shoot at has crossbeam target supports about 27” apart, so my target backers have to be at least that tall, hence the use of both the sides to make a tall single piece. If I get the chance to take some pics, I’ll post some showing the cuts/assembly.

I also ordered some large (8x10) self adhesive mailing labels. I can put these thru my printer, making large “sticky” targets that I then put onto the front of my larger homemade reactive target. If I hit the paper at all, it shows up very clearly, even at distance.

Funny thing about vision; all my life I was nearsighted. Then, in my 60’s I had to have cataract replacement surgery. After that, I could see perfectly at distance, but had to use glasses for reading. That was great for about two years! Then, when the macular degen started, first things got fuzzy, and now certain sections of visual field are just black. According to my eye surgeon, the blackness will keep growing until all vision is gone. That may be six months to a year...So, I’m trying to get all the shooting in I can, while I can still see.
 
Get to a retinal specialist STAT for an updated diagnosis and potential treatment. My cataract surgeon said the same thing.

My own macular degeneration suddenly intensified15 months ago. My shooting eye was suddenly 20/200. I couldn't read a poster on the wall across the room. A trial period of injections brought that back to 20/30. So far the macular issue is 'stable'. A series of painless shots a month apart, now has extended into 3 months apart, has given new hope.

I applaud your creative target experiments & will be giving them a try. I discovered red dot sights helped considerably, while most glass scopes didn't work well with my change in tunnel vision. And pistol sights remain useful at speed steel & bowling pin distances.
 

tac

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If you can, find an opthalmologist who specialises in shooting sports. I know it's hard to believe, but here in UK, while they are not on every corner, I have access to three such pots of gold from my time helping people with disabilities to either learn to shoot, or to continue to do so after trauma or illhoodness.

I 100% agree with the comments about red dot sights and also about targets in the redder end of the spectrum. Long wavelengths are easier to detect when you have less than perfect vision. 41mag above has, I hope, 'injected' a positive element into this unfortunate turn of events. My old bud, Alan, went from good eyesight to almost 100% blind in under a year from diabetes-induced sight failure, and it made him give up totally on many things - shooting was just one of them, but it included sailing and eventing. He gave us a gun each in his great generosity and biggity of heart.
 
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41mag & tac,
Thanks for the info. My eye surgeon is a retinal/macular specialist recommended to me by my regular eye doctor. I “see” him (see what I did there?) every month. The shots are delaying the progression, but all the vision professionals I’ve talked to say that there is no stopping the disease, just delaying the progression.

Understand, I am NOT dismissing your concern and I appreciate your information. As I mentioned, the original diagnosis was several years ago, with all the clinical indicators (drusen, flashes of light in my visual field, etc.), which is when I ran to the doctor because “something just wasn’t right”. During these past few years, we’ve tried all kinds of things, including trying to get me into a clinical trial of a new drug that is showing promise (but I didn’t fit their requirements). Anyway, it is what it is...and I have to deal with it, which includes preparing for the worst. But I’m trying to stay positive.

Anyway, “targets in the red end of the spectrum”? I seem to have some problems with red targets, unless they are light red. My best targets have to have really good contrast, like black lines on white background. And even though I have problems with the Amsler effect (parallel lines are jagged), diamond targets are better than round ones; doesn’t make much sense to me, but it works.

Ghoul,
I still need to take some pics of the grocery bags backers; I haven’t forgotten.

Ric
 

bbbass

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Hey all,

New guy here. I’ve already posted on the New Member Introduction section, so now I have a question.

Is anyone else a rifle shooter struggling with Macular Degeneration? I was diagnosed with it about 2 years ago, and it has slowly begun to steal my eyesight.

As you may have read in my Intro, I love doing rifle target shooting (as well as plinking and casual shooting, of course), and I’m trying to figure out ways to maximize the time I have left that I can still shoot.

Right now, I see well enough to use scopes and SOME iron sights. With both, I need to “scrunch around” to get the scope image/sight picture into the clearest area of my eye, but it’s doable. I’m sure as my sight gets worse, that area will become smaller and harder to find. Some iron sights are better for me than others, and I have to use a bit of guesswork as well.

One of the things that I can recommend to anyone else in this situation is trying different targets: different colors, different shapes, different backgrounds. I’ve been experimenting with printing some targets and modifying others, making my own reactive “ShootNC” targets, using brown paper grocery bags as backers, etc. I’ve found that my eyes see diamonds better than bullseye circles, that certain line thicknesses are easier to see, that certain colors are easier to distinguish, and that I need a lot more contrast than before the Mac Degen.

So...anyone else in this situation? Any tips/techniques to share?
Sorry to read this.

There was a high vis diamond shaped sight that I research, and almost bought them. Can't find them right now, but if I do I will share the info with you.


Funny thing about vision; all my life I was nearsighted. Then, in my 60’s I had to have cataract replacement surgery. After that, I could see perfectly at distance, but had to use glasses for reading. That was great for about two years! Then, when the macular degen started, first things got fuzzy, and now certain sections of visual field are just black. According to my eye surgeon, the blackness will keep growing until all vision is gone. That may be six months to a year...So, I’m trying to get all the shooting in I can, while I can still see.
I have diabetic Macular Edema that swelled under the retina and broke it. Same kind of black spot. However MD shots didn't improve it until I got two steroid injections which reduced the swelling. I don't shoot much rifle any more, but wanted to say a reflex optic with a bright reticle works pretty well at short to middle distances. I still shoot my scoped 10/22 out to 75yds on larger targets, but same as you I have to move around until the target is actually visible. I don't shoot rifle open sights at all any more.


My old bud, Alan, went from good eyesight to almost 100% blind in under a year from diabetes-induced sight failure, and it made him give up totally on many things - shooting was just one of them, but it included sailing and eventing. He gave us a gun each in his great generosity and biggity of heart.

Yep, the same happened to me. I lost a huge amount of the vision in my right eye (dominant eye) and have a black spot in the upper left edge of the center of vision. It used to be bigger, but once I got my blood sugar back under control (I was out on wildfires and not paying attention) the size and opaqueness of the spot reduced somewhat. Unfortunately, I had to switch eyes for handgun shooting since my left eye is still not too bad, and my rifle shooting even with a scope got so bad that I just quit. Even had to give up driving/towing my big camp trailer... no more trips to winter over in AZ. I also started giving away rifles. I only have a 10/22 that I shoot out to 75yds, and an AR shortie with a reflex optic for 25yd shooting.
 
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Bbbass,

Thanks for the link; I have seen these reviewed somewhere before. But actually I was talking about diamond shaped TARGETS are better for me than round ones.
 
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Ghoul,

Here’s some pics of the grocery bag target backers.

First, peel the handles off. They come off pretty cleanly if you peel them back. Next, cut down the middle of the sides until you come to the “base” of the bag. Then cut along the base on that side. Do the same thing on the other side. Now cut away the base entirely. I just throw it into recycling, but there may be some other use for it. So, now you’re left with two large pieces. Overlap them about an inch, and tape them together. I just use a couple of small pieces of tape. Now you have a target backer that’s about 27 inches long/high, which is what I need for the rails at my range. Then I just tape an actual target onto the backer, which can then be stapled to the rails. E3D3A137-E9D8-4AA9-809F-B1F037BD68E2.jpeg 6C6FE9E7-B3DA-4CC2-BB97-4DA1ADE63A0B.jpeg D137A349-9ECA-4104-92A9-C21E8E09A3EE.jpeg BC9315B5-6BD1-465A-AC8C-FD5C70DC5686.jpeg 1287F691-4C47-4CDE-A577-F9E77856D8FC.jpeg F93BE20D-C78C-44DF-94FE-3E4D80C47E20.jpeg 850654DC-2202-43E3-934E-EFF3C4472DF9.jpeg 7088983F-89D4-4121-BD09-0907581FD9F9.jpeg 2F8829B5-670C-4B7A-ADEA-18F3C5590A71.jpeg 10B6507F-DC90-4249-8131-0C2608834431.jpeg DA7BCD11-A86D-42F7-99A9-D5C417729ACA.jpeg 4DB53AF6-5ECD-4F70-80D2-8BACA106FE9B.jpeg ABEFC3E0-C535-4125-A00C-2664BA54705C.jpeg CC227270-8704-43C7-8362-A66DE980792E.jpeg
 

Ruger Rich

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About 3 years ago I suffered a stroke on my way home from work. It happened at the crest of the
Ross Island bridge and I lost all my vision in about 3 seconds. How I got off the the bridge is in
my opinion a miracle and that's a story not about this thread. One of the upshots of that stroke
was a 30% loss of vision in my eye starting at the nose and running across the bottom of my
eye. It has affected my range shooting and hunting, my passion. However, I am amazed at the
adaptability of my body. It'll never be better and could possible worsen. I sympathize with the
OP. To enjoy and have that shooting passion and to see it slip away is very sad.
 

bbbass

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Bbbass,

Thanks for the link; I have seen these reviewed somewhere before. But actually I was talking about diamond shaped TARGETS are better for me than round ones.
I know you were talking about diamond shaped TARGETS, that's why I thought maybe a diamond shaped front sight might work well for you. IDK. :)
 

3MTA3

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My mom had macular degeneration, but fortunately was able to manage it. She took AREDS and later AREDS 2 vitamins which had been suggested by her ophthalmologist. The AREDS have been clinically shown to be beneficial for slowing down or helping to prevent the disease. I've been taking them as a preventative considering Mom's experience.
 
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