Can Archery Improve Eyesight? Example Eye Exercises


When I started practicing archery I wondered if my declining eye sight would eventually pose a problem. After extensive research and some archery eye exercises, I feel confident I will enjoy archery for many years to come.

Practicing archery can improve your eyesight over time. The way you use your eyes during archery mimic many of the eye exercises that are prescribed for vision therapy patients. Practicing archery is a safe and natural way to improve your eyesight.

Just the act of practicing archery can help improve your eyesight, but if you know what the eye exercises are you can see results even sooner. Keep some of these tips in mind the next time you’re out with your bow to see your eyesight improve.

How Archery Improves Your Eyesight

Practicing archery will naturally improve your eyesight over time because of the motions and movements your eyes need to make to shoot an arrow. Archery requires focus and accuracy, improving your skills in archery will also improve your eyesight. Here are some example archery activities that help improve eyesight:

  • Looking from the target to your sight and back to the target
  • Focusing on the target at a distance
  • Watching an arrow after it has been fired
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Focusing on the bow sight
  • Watching someone else fire an arrow

Each of these examples closely match up with an eye exercise commonly prescribed by an eye doctor or optometrist. Knowing these eye exercises and incorporating them into your archery practice can help improve your eyesight. Here are some of the most recommended eye exercises and how archery compliments them.

Near And Far Focus Exercise

Moving your vision from the target to the sight and back to the target seems like a simple task. But this is actually very similar to something called near and far focus, an eye exercise technique recommended for improving eyesight. This exercise will force your eyes to readjust their focus repeatedly, improving focus speed and eyesight over time.

How To Exercise:

To start this exercise you would hold your finger 5-10 inches away from your face and find something about 20 feet away to focus on. You will switch your focus between your thumb and the object every 15 seconds and repeat five times.

Apply To Archery:

The next time you are at the firing line with your bow and arrow aiming at the target. Try focusing on the bow sight for 15 seconds and then down at the target for 15 seconds. Do this a few times before releasing your arrow. You will be performing the near and far focus exercise if you remember to take your time and do this with each shot.

Fixation To Improve Eyesight

This exercise is very similar to the near and far focus minus the near focus portion. They key is to focus on an object at a good distance of about 20 feet or more. This exercise will increase your focus and help improve your eyesight at a distance.

How To Exercise:

To perform this exercise simple stand 20 feet or more away from multiple objects you can focus on. Hold your focus on one object for 20 seconds or more. Then switch your focus to another object about the same distance away.

Apply To Archery:

You could practice this exercise at the firing line or even while you’re just standing to side waiting for your turn. Use the target as the object you will focus on. Some of the targets we use have multiple bulls eyes one in each corner of the target. You could switch between the different bulls eyes every 20 seconds or so to perform this exercise.

Tracking An Object

Tracking a moving object with your eyes is a very common eye exercise to improve vision flexibility and response time. This exercise is more effective when watching someone else’s arrow being fired. This exercise is sometimes referred to as pursuit tracking.

How To Exercise:

To perform this exercise you would focus on a moving target and try to remain focused without moving your head too much. A lot of times this exercise is done by someone holding an object and asking the patient to follow it with their eyes.

Apply To Archery:

When you’re out with others shooting arrows. Take a little time to stand off to the side and just watch the arrows make their way to the target. It would be most beneficial if you could move your head as little as possible while doing this.

Area Of Focus Exercise

This exercise is especially helpful for someone with astigmatism. If your vision seems blurred when looking at a target this could be helpful to you as well. It involves increasing your area of focus to help improve your accuracy.

How To Exercise:

This can be done with objects at different distances to help improve your overall focus. Start by looking at and focusing in on an object. Now slowly try to bring some of the surrounding area of the object into focus as well without letting the initial object go out of focus. Repeat 5-10 times.

Apply To Archery:

You can do this while your out on the range looking down at the targets. Try to focus on the center point of a target and bring the rest of the target into focus. This is a good exercise to practice while you’re waiting to go collect arrows.

Most of these exercises can be done outside of archery as well to help you out next time your shooting. If you practice archery often enough, you probably won’t need to do these exercises at any other time.

Hopefully knowing these exercises and how to apply them in archery will help you improve your eyesight. Even if your eyesight has room to improve, doesn’t mean you can’t practice archery. Archery may be less about eyesight than you think.

Aim Small Miss Small

Here’s a helpful video that will give you some tips on aiming. The aim small miss small approach relates to fixation to improve eyesight. This video talks about training your eye, and is a good way to improve your eyesight.

How Important Eyesight Is In Archery

I hate to see someone get discouraged from trying archery because they feel they have bad eyesight or wear glasses and think they couldn’t do well. Sure having spot on 20/20 vision doesn’t hurt, but that’s not what makes a good archer.What’s more important is your form and putting in the time to practice.

Most professional archers will agree, having eye issues is not a deal breaker. The mental aspects of archery are far more important than the vision aspects. You can still be a great archer, even with not so great eyesight.

Having proper control over your bow, patience, good form, and accuracy are much bigger factors than having perfect vision. Aside from the eye exercises above, there are other things you can do to help progress in archery if you have poor eyesight.

Archery With Poor Eyesight

Many archers will wear glasses, contact lenses, or prescription eye protection when practicing archery with no problems. They also make bows specifically for archers with poor eyesight. Some of the best archers in the world have eyesight issues so don’t let that stop you. Here are some things to consider helping you get into archery with poor eyesight:

  • Don’t use a peep sight
  • Use a larger size peep sight
  • Use a verifier
  • Use a bow scope
  • Change color of pins
  • Use a clarifier
  • Use a sight light

Of course you will still want to do the eye exercises, but some of these things can help make archery more enjoyable for people with poor eyesight. You won’t want to just apply everything from the list all at once. The approach you take should match the level of eyesight assistance you need.

Peep Sight Size For Poor Eyesight

Sometimes all someone needs is a larger peep sight to allow them to see the target better and improve their focusing ability. Some archers prefer to remove the peep sight off the bow completely. This is desirable for someone who just likes to shoot with friends and doesn’t want to take on archery in any professional capacity.

Bow Scope And Clarifier

A bow scope is a great way to get a better sight picture for near sighted archers. If you have problems seeing the target from the firing line, a bow scope will improve your accuracy. A clarifier can be added to the bow scope to make the target image even more clear. The clarifier works together with the lens from the bow scope to enhance your sight.

Use A Verifier To Focus Sight Pins

If your sight pins seem blurry or fuzzy when aiming your bow, consider getting a verifier. A verifier is a small lens that goes in your peep sight to make the sight pins easily visible. These are most useful for someone who needs glasses to read a book and far sighted archers.

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Whichever option you decide will help you the most, just remember the important thing here is consistency. Find out what works best for you and stick with it. Practice makes perfect, but if you keep changing up your approach it will take a lot more practice to get better.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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