Eye exercises to improve your shooting


Lee’s note: Here’s a great column from Peter Burlingame, AKA VIGunfighter,  president of the Self Defense Initiative on St. Thomas. Peter’s  work is highly recommended.

You can access his You Tube Channel here.

See what you’ve been missing!

by Peter Burlingame

Our eyes are incredibly important to us, being our dominant sense. eyesThirty different parts of our brain are devoted to processing the information that our eyes send it. Considering how important they are, why do we know so little about them? Why don’t we do anything to improve them? (other than getting corrective lenses, which may actually exacerbate the problem)

Why this blog’s focus is aimed mainly at firearms, seeing better, having eyes that function more efficiently is valuable in almost every single thing we do. Wouldn’t you like to see what you’ve been missing?

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to give you a series of exercises that will improve your eyesight. Not necessarily the acuity, (although I’ve had people report back to me being able to focus on things that they couldn’t see without glasses for decades) but in how your eyes move.

There are six muscles around your eyes that control your eyes’ movement. Like any muscles, if they aren’t worked, they weaken, they atrophy. These six muscles control three types of eye movement; vergence, saccades, and persuit.

Today we are going to focus on vergence. Remember crossing your cateyes as a kid? And your mom warning you that they’d stick that way? Mom did you a terrible disservice. Crossing your eyes is a movement called vergence. The line of sight of each eye converges. We do this when things are close to us, and it is one of the ways we judge distance.

The exercise we are going to learn to strengthen the muscles responsible for vergence is called “Pencil Push-Ups”. Typically, a pencil is used, but any similar object will work, including one of your fingers.

Hold the object up, vertically, at arm’s length. Focus on it. You should see one object. Slowly move it towards your nose. You will feel your eyes starting to cross. Keep going. If your vision switches and you see two objects, stop. Your eyes are at their limit as to how far they will turn your eyes inward.

Back the object off a couple of inches until you see only one, and try again. Repeat until you can get all the way to your nose and see only one object. Now for the push ups. Move the object out to arm’s length and then back in. Do ten reps and take a break. You should feel a familiar ‘burn’ in the little muscles around your eyes as the lactic acid builds up. Rest, and do another set of ten reps.
The second drill is to bring the object to your nose and keep it there. Look away, at something across the room, then back to the object. Away, object. Away, object, for another ten reps.

This is something you can do almost anywhere, at any time, so there’s no excuse not to do them. After just a short period you will notice an improvement. You can work longer before your eyes get tired. Your hand/eye coordination will get remarkably better. Performance will be increased, and you might just find that you are seeing better than you have in quite some time.

Next week’s Fitness Friday: “Saccades”, or “Why You are Blind for 45 Minutes a Day”

Diligencia Remumenor Fidelis*

Peter Burlingame

*Training Rewards the Faithful


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: Eye exercises to improve your shooting | pistolponies

  2. In the article regarding vergence, you address moving an object from a distance of arm’s length inward to your nose; initially to the point at which you see two objects then backing off and repeating. What I’m wondering after performing this exercise, and not seeing it addressed specifically in the article, is where does your eyes’ ability to focus come into play? I can see one pencil clearly up to a proximity to my nose, inside of which I begin to see one blurry pencil and then two blurry pencils.

    I see that you have addressed that this is not an acuity exercise, although some readers have reported benefits. I’m just wondering if I should be able to see the object clearly at close proximity to my nose? I’d also love to hear from other readers who have performed this exercise, is there a point at which you simply can no longer focus on the pencil or see it clearly?

    Thanks for all of your contributions. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  3. Well, these natural vision improvement methods have been around since the 1920s. I mean the techniques designed to improve vision thought a set of eye exercises and repeated training on a simple visual task. (search “Bathes Method”, details: http://everydayhealthhero.com/eye-exercises-to-improve-vision-naturally ) That’s about all I can say: it really do help! Me and my wife started doing these exercises (not just some random 5 minute workout but strictly following the plan). Effects? She has less headaches and her eyes don’t get strained when she work at a computer screen. In my case additionally sharpness of vision improved noticeably. I can hardly wait to see what happens when I do more of the exercise techniques

  4. Hello. Thanks for sharing eye exercises to improve shooting focus. The video is amazing. I really enjoy reading your post. It is very interesting and definitely help the person who want to begin shooting or who are doing clay shooting. Clay shooting is the very interesting game. Anybody can do shooting it does not matter that you are a beginner or a skilled person.

  5. Brain development, Hand eye coordinator, close look at eye etc are very useful tips. This is the first time I am reading your blog but impress with the information and writing flow. This blog has very rich resources. Thanks for being great. Thanks

  6. Sent to a “laser eye surgery” …ahh victim…
    Hi, i was about to watch the eye surgery you tube video,

    My experience with medical is that they want to sell you something rather then fix the cause. Like any other business running on a bottom line instead of results.

    The world has adapted to accepting this.

    The mention of you being near sighted since the age of 9 but no mention of you reading a lot, behind a computer a lot, and close to a television isnt mentioned and it cant be argued wither because thats how it happens. The conditioning of the muscles in the eyes like any other type of conditioning.

    Simple eye exersizes and time fixes this. You could have fixed your eye sight over the span of a few months without surgery but medical cant profit from that.

    People like tailors, librarians, programmers etc nearly all wear glasses and have near sightedness. They have grown focussing on objects a couple of feet in front of them.

    Medical attacked me when i spoke out against the war. They didnt want to fix the cause because they were making so much money producing their medications, tools, equipment…

    Medication with milligrams of active ingredients so small you cant see it filled with some by product to make a pill you can hold and some paper costing a few cents sold for hundreds but paid for by tax payers so they can appeal for more funding and everyone jumps on board so they gain a huge support base and people like you “talking business” doesnt solve problems.

    But you can run to that support group who will back you up but deny solutions.

    So do you resent my information because you already had the surgery but could have avoided it? Do you thank me for the info and help others going against medical who hide the solution because it would cost them?….

    Asians are smart because they were pushed by western business. The same people you now represent. The underpaid slave labour conditions by business in the west over pricing and strategically advertising to other naive kids who didnt know better to buy $300 shoes made in chine by the millions for $2 a peice because thousands of people working below minimum wage, living in boxes eating rice. Things have changed because others saw it and shaed the information, cut out the middle man but they now need to make up for it, the people who lost their business find other business, recruit people to take the flak in their place. Like you. Happy smiley, “you can trust me” type of person. Get paid to say “cyanide is the new health craze” but you didnt know better. Until you do, then you have to choose……life is full of contradictions and damned if you do damned if you dont situations. Like a peaceful defender needs to match the weapons of an attacker and becomes the monster they were defending against. Where does it end?

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