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Thread: Shooting after retinal detachment?

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Default Shooting after retinal detachment?

    I had a bit of bad luck with a retinal detachment this summer. Modern medicine got me back together without any loss of vision but I am extremly reluctant to take any chances that might cause another detachment and permanent loss of sight. I have come to prefer hunting with a bow anyway so probably won't miss the big bore rifles. However, I do enjoy shooting the big bore handguns and will probably miss that more than anything. Nevertheless, I have made my decision that sight is more important than shooting and will move on. I have made my choice but am curious to know whether any of you has had a similar experience or knows somebody who has had a retinal detachment and continued shooting. I believe Sugar Ray Leonard continued his boxing career after his retinal detachment but it seems to me that there is too much at stake to take such chances.

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    Would not know how to answer that one. That is why there is a brake on every rifle I own and for sure my big ones.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    What were you doing when it happened?

    Was it painful or just something that freaks you out real bad?

    Does your vision go completely black?

    I would think handguns would be ok.....don't see much head jarring from handguns.

    Maybe just stick with a classic mild 7x57mm 175 grain loading or a 6.5x55mm swede 160 grainer.

    jedi

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    Jedi-

    Wasn't doing anything to cause it to happen. Simply had the classic risk factors: age, previous eye injury, myopia, recent cataract surgery, etc.

    It's not painful and, unless you are careful, one could easily overlook the early signs and symptoms until it is too late. The real freaky part was trying to get from small town AK to specialized medical care.

    In the early stages there is simply a blank spot in the peripheral field of view. Sixty percent of the time it's in the inferiormedial quadrant (next to the nose and downward). It occurs thirty percent of the time on either side of that spot, and only ten percent upward and outward (superiorlateral).

    I'm thinking handguns too - but my .50 S&W mag does rattle my teeth; it may be a bit much to shoot for fun but I'll probably still carry it as back-up while bowhunting.

    Dan

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    What does your eye doc say? I'd trust that opinion above all others.

    Recoil-wise, traditional muzzleloaders have lots less than most modern big bores if you keep the powder charges within reason, but that's relative when it comes to risking your sight.

  6. #6

    Arrow Recoil and retina's

    I did have a old friend down here that had the problem that you have he has passed away now but did continue to hunt long after his retina detached almost 20 years if I remember right. He used a 300 weatherby before this happened for his everything gun after he went to a 7 X 57 and never looked back. As far as pistols were concerned he always carried a Ruger 44 mag. where ever he hunted and shot it like it was part of him his load was the old Keith load of 22 grains of 2400 behind a 250 cast keith style bullet.His very good friend and hunting partner was a eye doctor so I'm assuming all this was worked out with medical approval he never had anymore problems with his eyes but was very careful about what he did I know he never hunted alone after that and was very careful about how much weight he picked up for the rest of his life.Both the pistol and the rifle were magnaported.He had the benefit of having a doctor that was also a shooter and hunter so this guy knew what he could get away with and what he couldn't.My suggestion to you would be to find a doctor who shoots and hunts and spend the price of a visit to see what he has to say. I would think if the draw weight on that bow is pretty high you could also run into problems there too but then again I'm not the one you need to talk to the doctor is. I don't think your shooting and or hunting has to be over with just modified but understand this is just my opinion and when it comes to your vision your opinion is the one that counts.I hope this has been of some help to you and good luck in whatever you decide to do..Ronnie

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    What Ronnie says makes sense...I never thought about straining and pulling draw weight affecting your condition.

    If the .500 is that bad maybe trade it for a .44 mag.....lotta young bucks on here looking for a reason to develop carpal tunnel and empty wallet syndrome.

    Shoot, you could get a .44 lever action carbine too maybe with hard casts and very little recoil.

    I think thats even below 7x57mm recoil with a lighter gun to boot.

    The range loss won't matter if you are used to bow hunting anyway.

    I wish you all the best and many years of hunting still.

    Thanks for the info and what to look out for.

    This goes back to my safety discussions of the past but I will say it again ALWAYS TAKE A HUNTING BUDDY if you can.

    Losing your sight in the bush would be a tragic event in itself much less being all alone.

    jedi

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    Dan, you sound like a thoughtful and careful man, testing the water by asking an honest question...don't blame you...I'd probably do the same thing in your shoes. However, listen to what your opthamologist has to say. He/she is the only one who knows the clinical features of your case. Perhaps not all retinal detachments are created equal...maybe some are more/less serious than others...I don't know...but your opthamologist knows. If there is variance in severity across patients, then asking what others have seen or experienced is not a good idea.

    In this day and age of easy law suits, you'll most likely get a conservative response from all providers. Therefore, in the end it will probably come down to a personal decision based upon how much risk you are willing to take. Just make sure you are making an informed decision, based upon information relevant to your case that you have discussed thoroughly with your physician. Gather up information and take it to your physician to discuss. If it were me, I'd have several talks with my doc about this. However, what others have seen or done may not at all be pertinent to your health. In fact, I'd suggest that hearing the stories of others, even though shared with good intention, may give you a false impression of reduced risk.

    Good luck with this sir,
    Doc

    P.S. If it is any help, Bob Arnold is an opthamologist in Anchorage, who is also an active member of the shooting/hunting community. Unfortunately in your case, he is a pediatric opthamologist...so you're not in his patient age bracket. However, maybe he could vector you in the right direction to gather more information about shooting and retinal detachments to discuss with your physician. If you do call Dr. Arnold, don't ask for his opinion about your case...that would be inappropriate.

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughtful replies guys. As I stated previously, I have made my decision to give up the heavy recoiling rifles and hunt solely with a bow in the future. I was mainly curious about others' experience with a similar condition.

    As far as consulting with an ophthalmologist, in this society, they are all conservative in rendering an opinion about such things lest some lawyer come back to bite them in the arse. I was so relieved to be released from medical care that I forgot that I was heading back to hunting season. At this point, I do not want to put my physician on the spot by asking such a specific question since shooting is a personal decision and, in reality, I am responsible for my own health. What the ophthalmogist did tell me at my last appointment was that having had a previous detachment puts me at 5% risk of having another detachment, even though we went through three rounds of treatment, and I am now completely reattached. Those odds are simply too great since it is my sight that is at stake.

    What I did ask the ophthalmogist was whether a detached retina would ground me from flying. His response was that many commercial pilots are still active after having much worse detachments than mine. He very kindly filled out the FAA Form 8500-7 for me to keep my medical certificate. Since then I have been back in the air and I expect to lead a normal life - except that there will be no more hunting with rifles.

    My vision is priceless. I hunt for pleasure first and meat second. I can still have the pleasure of a wilderness outing with or without my bow and I can always buy meat at the grocery store.

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    Well said sir.

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