The Best Red Dot Sights for Astigmatism in 2024 [Blurry to Clear]

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Your brand new red dot sight just arrived.

You install the battery, turn it on, look through it, and…

you aren’t seeing a red dot

Instead, you’re seeing a starburst, a smear, or even a double dot:

Red Dot Astigmatism

What’s going on here?

It’s probably your eyes.

In fact, you may have a relatively common eye problem that affects your ability to use red dots:

Astigmatism.

And In today’s article, I’m going to show you the best optics for astigmatism (along with some pro tips) that’ll solve your eye problem.

Read on!

Is My Red Dot Defective?

Here are three ways to find out:

  1. Picture Use a camera and take a picture through the optic. If the picture shows a messy dot, it’s probably the optic. However, if the picture shows a single perfect red dot, then it’s your eyes.
  2. Iron Sights – Line up your red dot with the rear back up iron sight (BUIS). Is it still blurry? If so, it could be your eyeballs. 
  3. Rotate Aim at an object and rotate the sight without moving the dot off target. If the distorted image moves with the optic, then your red dot is defective. 

If your red dot survived these tests, then you most likely have astigmatism. Which brings us to the next point…

What is Astigmatism?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA):

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye. 

An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance. This can lead to eye discomfort and headaches.

To put simply:

Astigmatism causes blurry vision. 

That’s why if the red dot is blurry, smeared, looks like a starburst or is distorted in any way, you probably have astigmatism. 

The surprising part?

Astigmatism isn’t only a problem for those who have poor sight. It also affects those who have perfect 20/20 eye vision. 

Question is:

What can you do about it?

Buy an astigmatism-friendly optic…

Best Pistol Red Dot for Astigmatism

This is probably the style of sights you discovered your astigmatism with.

If so, there are a few things you should look for when buying the best pistol red dot sight for astigmatism:

First, get a red dot with a larger MOA. The reason? It’ll help lessen the blur effect. Aim for a reticle with at least 4 MOA or larger. (Some people may find smaller dots work best for them).

Second, tweak the settings. Lower the brightness and if needed, try a green illuminated dot. 

Lastly, cowitness it through a rear BUIS aperture (preferably the peep sight) to sharpen the dot.

With all that said, here are the best pistol red dots for astigmatism…


Holosun Paralow HS503G

The Holosun Paralow HS503G is the best overall pistol red dot for astigmatism.

Here’s why:

Most red dots are going to be blurry. Fuzzy. Distorted. Even the more expensive red dots like Aimpoint. But not the Holosun Paralow.

In fact:

A friend of mine uses this exact optic to treat his astigmatism. “The red dot is extremely clear and crisp. No distortion whatsoever,” he told me. 

To make it even easier on the eyes, he pairs it with an EOTECH G33 Magnifier. This allows him to shoot further distances (above 400 yards).

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EOTECH G33 Magnifier
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EOTECH G33 Magnifier
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  • Magnification - Fixed 3x magnification in compact design
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But what about the optic itself?

Well, the glass is clear:

The ACSS reticle is bright and sharp:

And it’s lightweight and compact:

In short:

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly red dot sight that reduces astigmatism, has clear glass and as versatile as the best LPVO, then I highly recommend the Holosun Paralow HS503G.

HOLOSUN HS503CU, Paralow Red Dot Sight 1X, 2 MOA Dot & 65 MOA Circle, Matte Black
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HOLOSUN HS503CU, Paralow Red Dot Sight 1X, 2 MOA Dot & 65 MOA Circle, Matte Black
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  • Package Length: 7.62 Centimeters

I also use it as my best AR-15 optic. But if you’re going for an even lighter red dot, then go with the…


Meprolight M21

The Meprolight M21 is small, ultra-compact, and fairly lightweight (13.6 ounces) — making it a great AR pistol optic option. But the main reason why I’d pick the M21 is the reticle.

More specifically, the triangle reticle. 

Although it bleeds a bit in low light conditions, it’s very crisp and defined in bright conditions. If you do need a sight for low light conditions, check out my night vision scope reviews.

In fact, it uses fiber optics and tritium to power the reticle. Which means you don’t need any batteries to illuminate the reticle.

The glass is clear. It has a large field of view. And the sight is battle proven(originally designed for the Israeli Special Forces).  

To put simply:

The Meprolight M21 is military grade. It’s reliable, clear, and accurate. The triangle reticle is very sharp and could help out with your astigmatism (as it did with others).


Best Holographic Sight for Astigmatism

Instead of projecting the dot off a lens, a holographic sight (HWS) has the dot on the inside of the glass.

Because the light is not bounced into your eye, the dot may appear clearer and less distorted than the traditional red dot sight (RDS).

So put another way:

If red dots aren’t your thing, then you might want to consider the best holographic sights for your astigmatism.


Holosun HS510C Reflex Sight

If you’re looking for the best holographic sight for astigmatism, get the Holosun HS510C. 

The 2 MOA dot is perfectly clear — no distortion or blurriness.

The best part?

The reticle has 3 different options:

  1. Single dot
  2. Single circle
  3. Circle with a dot in the center

This is perfect for astigmatism since you can try both the smaller red dot (1 MOA) or the larger red dot (65 MOA) to see which one works best for you.

In short:

The Holosun HS510C is the best overall holographic sight for astigmatism. It’s clear, rugged, has long battery life, and comes with multiple reticle options.

Holosun HS510C Multi-Reticle Circle Dot Open Reflex Sight w/Solar Failsafe, Shake Awake, & QD Mount HS510C
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Holosun HS510C Multi-Reticle Circle Dot Open Reflex Sight w/Solar Failsafe, Shake Awake, & QD Mount HS510C
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  • MULTI-RETICLE SYSTEM - This Holosun red dot sight is equipped with MRS to let you select a fast sight picture for shorter distances with a 65 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot; The large circle allows for a...
  • SHAKE AWAKE TECHNOLOGY - Extends battery life by deactivating the optic's LED while not in use; Shake Awake offers settings from 10 minutes to 12 hours depending on the model and can be deactivated...

Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1

The Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 (also known as The Huey) is a solid holographic sight if you have astigmatism.

The reticle doesn’t ‘starburst’ or look like a ‘vine of grapes’. It’s very clear and sharp thanks to the single fused holographic element design.

Also:

It has a large field of view and virtually no glare. Battery life isn’t an issue (micro USB port available). And the durability is just solid.

However, it’s quite bulky. In fact, it weighs a whopping 1.15 pounds. That’s MUCH heavier than the Holosun HS510C (8.3 ounces).

Besides that, the Razor AMG UH-1 is a great holographic sight that delivers crisp view and a clear reticle.

Vortex Optics AMG UH-1 Gen II Holographic Sight
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Vortex Optics AMG UH-1 Gen II Holographic Sight
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  • The lightning-quick EBR-CQB reticle with 15 illumination settings and our FHQ technology virtually eliminates stray light emissions for zero forward signature.

Speaking of clear views, if you need 10/22 optic, check out my best Ruger 10/22 scope buyers guide. 


EOTECH 512

The Eotech 512 is a mixed bag.

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EOTech M510 Tact AA w/2D Std Reticle
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  • Fast Target Acquistion: Its unique reticle patterns are critical to delivering fast target acquisition and MOA accuracy at any range. EOTech reticles feature a 68 MOA ring surrounding a 1 MOA center...
  • Ideal Fit: It is an operator-grade Holographic Weapon Sight built for close-quarter engagements with fast-moving targets

Some people had success with it. While others see the dot as a peanut.

The great thing about the Eotech 512 holographic sight is that it has multiple reticle options like the Holosun HS510C (1 MOA dot reticle & 68 MOA ring).

Which means, you could try out both MOA options to see which one your eye prefers.

However, a few folks that I know say they can’t use an Eotech reticle, despite the different reticle options. It’s either too blurry, fuzzy, or too funky looking.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend getting an Eotech 512 (unless you’re able to try it out in-person).

Instead, I’d opt-in for a Holosun HS510C. It’s sharper and clearer.


Best Prism Sight for Astigmatism 

Prism sights (and LPVOs) work the best for astigmatism.

Why?

Because it uses a lens and etched glass to produce the reticle. This helps reduce distortion, and in a lot of cases, fix astigmatism. 

However, there’s a con to prism sights:

They’re large and bulky. So if you’re looking for a lighter optic, go for a holographic or red dot sight.

Otherwise, here are the best prism sights for astigmatism…


Vortex Spitfire 3x

If you asked me to pick you the best optic for astigmatism, I’d get you a Vortex Spitfire 3X.

Here’s why:

First, it significantly reduces — if not, completely removes — the starburst effect (for most people). All you’re left with is a clear, sharp reticle.

Second, the DRT (Duel Ring Tactical) ring comes with red/green illumination and a 12 variable illumination settings. This allows you to adjust based on your individual eye.

Lastly, the EBR-556B reticle is awesome for both CQB and long range shooting. In fact, it’s one of the best shotgun scopes on the market.

To put simply:

If you have astigmatism and don’t want to get corrective lenses, I HIGHLY recommend the Vortex Spitfire 3X. (Or the Vortex Spitfire 1X). 

It’s got everything you need:

  • No ‘starburst’ or blurry dot
  • Crystal clear etched reticle
  • Green/Red illumination
  • Long eye relief
  • Rails included
  • Short-to-long range capabilities

Plus, it’s backed by Vortex’s bullet-proof Lifetime Warranty. So if anything happens to it, they’ll repair it for free. Forever.

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope - EBR-556B Reticle (MOA)
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Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope - EBR-556B Reticle (MOA)
  • The Spitfire 3x Prism Scope excels in close to medium range shooting applications where fast target acquisition and speed is of the essence. The prism based design allows for a compact optical system...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective coatings offer bright views even in low light conditions. A selectable red/green illuminated reticle features five intensity levels to match the...
  • The reticle is etched directly on the prism ensuring shooters have an effective point of aim at all times regardless of illumination. A fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus.

If you’re more into old-school shooting, check out my best muzzleloader scope guide.


Primary Arms SLX 3×32

The Primary Arms SLX 3×32 is a budget-friendly alternative to the Trijicon ACOG.

The glass is clear. Eye relief is plenty. And most importantly:

It helps with astigmatism. 

Once you get a bit of practice with the optic, you can effectively shoot with both eyes open. 

It doesn’t need batteries to operate. However, you do have the option to illuminate in case you’re shooting in extremely low or bright conditions. 

The feature I liked the most is the ACSS reticle.

The 1 MOA center dot is sweet for precise shots and doesn’t obscure too much of the target…

…while the large ring works great for close-range shots. It even estimates ranging, windage, and moving target leads out to 600 yards — making it one of the best scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor

To summarize:

If the Spitfire 3X isn’t available, the next best prism sight for astigmatism is the Primary Arms SLX 3×32.

It’s got everything you need and more. 


Burris AR-332

Just like the Eotech 512, the Burris AR-332 is too a mixed bag. 

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It works for some, while blurs for others.

I’ve used the Burris AR-332 (not for astigmatism) and I liked the sight… a lot.

It has great class, holds zero, and it’s rugged. It even comes with a free Burris Fastfire 3 red dot sight and Picatinny Mount. 

That’s cool and all, but does it help with astigmatism? It might. It might not.

That said, you’re better off getting a Vortex Spitfire or Primary Arms SLX. They’re proven prism scopes that has helped thousands of shooters with astigmatism.


Best Rifle Scopes for Astigmatism

Red dots and holographic sights rock at close range.

The problem is:

It’s not so good at medium-to-long range distances (unless you use a magnifier). Which means if you want a bit of magnification for longer distance shots, you’re going to need something else.

Enter: Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO).

Just like prism sights, it uses a laser etched reticle (which significantly reduces the distortion/starburst effect). 

It’s also much more versatile. With an LPVO, you can use it at 1X magnification for fast target acquisition (just like a red dot)…

ACSS-reticle-vs-red-dot-sight

…AND have the capability of increased magnification for longer distance shots.

If you need to find the best rifle scope mounts for your LPVO, check out my guide on them.

With that, here are the best rifle scopes for astigmatism… 


Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24mm

The Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 is the best budget riflescope for astigmatism.

It’s also the best 17 HMR scope. Here’s why:

  • Clear glass
  • ACSS reticle
  • True tracking
  • Fine adjustments
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 11-setting illumination

Put another way:

If you’re looking for the best bang-for-the-buck riflescope that’ll help your astigmatism and up your shooting game, get the Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24.

It’s also backed by Primary Arms’ Lifetime Warranty.

So if anything happens to the scope, they’ll repair it for free.

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24 SFP Gen III Riflescope - Illuminated ACSS 5.56/5.45/.308
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Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24 SFP Gen III Riflescope - Illuminated ACSS 5.56/5.45/.308
  • EXPORT CONTROLLED ITEMS: These items are controlled for export and may require an export license from the U.S. Government. Buyer acknowledges that Buyer is responsible for obtaining all export...
  • Variable 1-6x magnification second focal plane scope features the ACSS Standard reticle for 5.56 .45.308
  • ACSS reticle combines BDC, wind holds, moving target leads, and range estimation in an easy to use system

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is just as good as the Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24.

The glass is amazing. The BDC reticle is even better. It estimates bullet hold-over at long distances, provides reference marks for bullet drift, and can range distances.

It even comes with illumination, making shooting at dawn/dusk a breeze.

The turrets are positive. It tracks true. And it holds zero. It’s easily the best scout rifle scope and the best scope for 30-06 you’ll find.

But you might be wondering:

Is the Strike Eagle 1-6x better than the Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 riflescope?

Personally, I’d pick the Primary Arms SLX over the Strike Eagle since the glass is clearer and the reticle is easier to use

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA)
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Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA)
  • The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is defined by speed and versatility. Adjust to six power when you need to engage targets at a distance
  • High quality, fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight picture and optimal low light performance
  • The illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle features 11 illumination settings to accomodate for changing light conditions. An extra battery can be stored in the windage cap and easily released

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6×24

Looking for the best rifle scope for astigmatism under $600? Get the Vortex PST Gen II 1-6×24. 

The reticle is diamond clear, set in the second focal plane, a large eye box with tiny bezels, and fine adjustments.

I’ve had nothing but praise for the PST series, as you’ve probably seen in my 6.5 Creedmoor scope guide.

In a nutshell:

I HIGHLY recommend the PST Gen II 1-6×24 if you’re looking for a premium, ‘daylight bright’ illuminated riflescope that rocks at close-to-medium range distances.

And that’s all there is to red dots for astigmatism. Here are some additional tips on…


How to Fix Red Dot Astigmatism

Here are a few tips to help fix red dot astigmatism:

  1. Optics – Get one of the astigmatism friendly optics from above.
  2. Brightness – Lower the brightness of your optic. You can also switch to a green-colored light. Why? Because green light is softer and easier on the eye.
  3. Aim – Focus on the target instead of the dot. 
  4. BUIS Shoot with a red dot and a peep sight at the same time. 
  5. Polarized Sunglasses – Wear polarized sunglasses. It reduces glare and improves vision in bright conditions. 
  6. Corrective Lens – Most mild to moderate astigmatism can be corrected with prescription lens. (Either glasses or contact lenses). Book an appointment with your local optometrist to see which option is best for you. 

Truth be told:

Astigmatism varies from person to person

Some people claim holographic sights like Aimpoint work. For others, they are even worse than red dots. 

So your best bet would be to try to look at different optics. If it doesn’t work out, you can always return it back to Amazon within 30 days.

This will save you time and your hard-earned money. Plus, you’ll be able to find the best optic for astigmatism for you.


Don’t View Astigmatism As a Curse

It’s true:

Astigmatism is a limitation.

However, don’t let it get in the way. Fact is, some of the best shooters have astigmatism.

If they’re able to overcome it, you can too. All you need to do is try the methods above and see which one works best for you.

But that’s enough from me. Now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you have astigmatism? If so, how did you treat it?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

28 thoughts on “The Best Red Dot Sights for Astigmatism in 2024 [Blurry to Clear]”

  1. I’ve got a pretty bad astigmatism in my left eye and a mild one in my right. All of your tips are helpful especially the lower brightness and focusing more on your target then the reticule. It feels like it helps dim down the starburst a little bit. I do have a couple of holosun red dots and the blurryness on those is the same as my mro and Romeo 4s. I have noticed that throwing a magnifier on helps crisp it up a little. All in all a very well written article.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for writing this article! My eyesight is bad due to diabetes. I switched from open sites to dots because of this. I thought the starbursts were either because I didn’t have the most expensive models or that’s just how they looked. (I have Vortex & Holosun dots)… I was about to buy an MRO thinking that would clear the starbursts up but your article helped me realize the problem. Thank you again for a great article!

    Reply
  3. I recently purchased a Sig Sauer with a Romeo1 Pro Red Dot and just prior to reading your article I wrote to the company I purchased it from complaining about the lack of clarity & poor definition of the dot. After reading your article I took a photo of the red dot and it’s PERFECT. But I guess my astigmatism isn’t.
    Many thanks, great article

    Reply
  4. Its so frustrating. I wish there were more solutions than $300 purchases.

    The reflex sight I have now came with 4 or 5 reticle types, two colors (red, green) and variable brightness. On any given day, a different reticle and the other color helps. Just gotta see what kind of weather you get and what kind of day your having.

    I have eyeglasses coming, and I’m eager to see if that corrects the issue.

    Reply
    • Not necessarily true. I have three different eyeglasses with the same prescription and four different red dot optics on separate pistols. I have these problems with every one of them, despite the glasses.

      Reply
    • I agree with the other commenters. Both my son and I have astigmatism and lenses to correct, and both of us still see multiple dots through my Romeo 1 Pro optic. I would say that our experience is that glasses aren’t helping us in our instance. Perhaps it has something to do with the angle of the emitter vs the angle (CYL) of the users astigmatism? I don’t know, but I do see that for some, the corrective lenses do make a difference. Sadly, for us, it doesn’t.

      In speaking with one competitive shooter, she suggested that visiting an opthalmologist / optometrist with familiarity with shooting and with her gun (packed discretely until safely in the exam room) allowed them to find the correct prescription match for her to clearly use her sights.

      Reply
  5. The Holosun 403 is what made me surmise I have astigmatism. I get a scratched cornea once or twice a year, and have terrible habits with my contact lenses so that makes sense I guess.

    Reply
  6. I have astigmatism and I need to pick a sight for a Ruger PC Charger, a short barrel 9mm pistol. Would any of these work for that caliber?

    Reply
  7. If by some chance anyone sees this comment, I have to say…

    Prism optics blew me away, almost drove me to tears.

    Been shooting 2gun for a few years, did ok, but occasionally my severe astigmatism would make a red dot iffy to see correctly, hindering my performance.

    The first time I looked through a prism optic, it was so sharp and clear, I was emotional.

    I know this soudns corny, but its true, it was like those videos where the colorblind people see color for the first time.

    Try a prism optic if you have astigmatism, you’ll see sharpness and clarity you never knew before, its incredible.

    I settled on a primary arms ACSS prism, its amazing.

    Reply
  8. One thing I’ve learned also…especially in rifle shooting because of the slight canting of the shooters head for good cheekweld. If you wear bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses
    Buy single vision shooting glasses
    The bifocal is not a part of the equation as front sight is further than the 22″ reading distance they’re dialed in for and typical optic/scope eye relief of 3.5″-10″ is to close for that same close portion of lense.

    This creates an easily removable large blurr.

    Single vision for shooting.

    I bought and keep a yellow lense pair for indoor and low light…and a pair of photography or transitions for outdoors and sun. Got both pairs for around $125 total

    Reply
  9. I have a vortex venom 3 moa red dot on my Glock G45. I probably see the fourth picture above. This doesn’t stop me from shooting the center out of a target but I would like a sharper dot. I have a very bright light on my gun and when I am shooting indoors at a closer distance’s and turn on my light the dot clears up. Not sure how lighting the target up helps but like seeing the sharp, little dot. Next time I get glasses I’m going to see what they can do

    Reply
  10. I guess “budget” or “affordable” is a relative term. My pay grade designates anything approaching $100 and beyond is for “rich people”

    Reply
  11. This is very helpful, I have an astigmatism and Keratoconus. My dad is an optometrist and his buddy is the lasik guy in town. I cant get Lasik and my glasses correct for normal circumstances I still havent been able to have them correct and see through a red dot without distortions. PRISM sights and 1×4 s and 1×6 work best. I have been eyeing the Steiner Prism sights.

    Reply
  12. Have 4 different red dot sights, the first 2, Burris Fast Fire III and the Vortex Venom, I thought they were just bad or glass was unable to be cleaned well. The last 2, Trijicon SRO and Romeo 3, my eyes seem to do really well with especially the Romeo 3. Don’t know what it is about that sight that makes it so clear and crisp for me but I wish I could mount it to my pistol instead of my CZ Scorpion. Would highly recommend to anyone to check out this optic at a gun store to see the clarity for yourself and if it’s a good fit for you. The SRO is also good at 2.5 MOA and is good enough for my carry.

    Reply
  13. The 510 c is not a holographic sight it is a red dot. Eotech hands down which is a holographic sight. These are a saving Grace for older eyes. Try this out please go to a store like Sportsman’s Warehouse.

    Reply
  14. Great article. I’m 55 and I use off the shelf 1.5x readers to clearly see my front sight on a pistol. I have an eotech site on a rifle that just looks blurry but I think its the sight itself and not my vision. For scopes I have to take the readers off or the scope is blurry. However, I just purchased a Holosun 507c green dot sight so I can shoot pistol matches with both eyes open. I was getting tired of switching to sunglasses during the match and then readers while actually shooting. An amazing thing happened: I just assumed I would still need the readers for the green dot sight, but with my naked eyes the dot sight is perfectly clear and is blurry with my readers on. What does that say about my astigmatism because shouldn’t it be the reverse (clear with readers and blurry with naked eye)?

    Reply
  15. My astigmatism is mild but especially noticeable in overcast condition combined with a shaded range bench. It was recommended to shoot in the same light as the target (my eye doc is a competitive handgunner). That is to be in the open for best visual acuity.

    Reply
  16. I’ve recently been diagnosed with red dot astigmatism, and I’m looking for ways to fix it. I’m wondering if anyone has had success with using specific optics or other methods. What has worked for you? Are there any tips that could help me improve my vision or make my optics easier to use? Has anyone tried using a peep sight in addition to their red dot? Could polarized sunglasses help? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Peep sight works really good for me for seeing the red dot much better. I will also try a green dot soon. Im wondering about getting a prescription but don’t know if correcting for longer distance is the way to go or short distance. Not sure if there is a way to fix this since the red dot is in the short area where as the target is in the long area. Does it matter????

      Reply
    • On all red dots I see the starburst. I own a Aimpoint Pro, Vortex Sparc & Sparc AR and a Holosun 407C Green X2. I have also used different model Eotech sights too. The only thing that made the starburst look like it’s supposed to was a magnifier.

      Reply
  17. I’m blind in my right eye and have astigmatism in the left. I find that I can squint slowly and find the best view of my reticle. Never just a dot. I try to squint the same, shot to shot, and pick the same dot each time to aim with. Killed over twenty squirrels this fall. Probably missed as many. Was hoping to hear tubular red dots were better. Thanks for the info.

    Reply

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