Recoil & Your Retina Although, we have never had a retinal detachment, we have seen many of them and they can be annoying to an absolute tragedy. The treatments very but are usually inconvenient to say the least and usually requires one to lay flat face down for 18 hours a day for at least one week after a bubble of air has been put into the eye. The retina is a thin layer of nervous tissue at the back of your eye. It serves the purpose of translating light into electronic impulses that the brain interprets as what we see. This thin layer is attached and supported by the choroid, a tougher layer through which the retina receives its nutrients. The retina can become detached from the choroid leading to a variety of visual symptoms that range from annoying to blindness. Fortunately, retinal detachment is not that common. On average 1 in 15,000 of the US population will develop a symptomatic detachment, though up to 6% are estimated to have “benign” holes in their retinas. These days, with modern advances, blindness is rarely the outcome, when once it was almost a certainty. Risk factors that significantly increase your risk include: advancing age, diabetes, cataract surgery (especially with lens replacement), extreme myopia (near-sightedness), trauma and a variety of rare conditions. It is the traumatic etiology that concerns rifle and shotgun users. The trauma from inching up on a scope and scoping yourself by catching the ocular piece in the eye may result in retinal detachment. However the rapid and violent shaking from extreme recoil from big calibers may accomplish the same pathology, especially if other risk factors are present. One of our favorite rifles to hunt dangerous game in Africa is the .416 Weatherby magnum that produces 110 pounds of recoil, five times a .3006 we are told. It is brutal to sight in but very effective on very large game. Personally though, if somebody bought us a nice .577NE, we’d shoot it without much concern, just like we do our “goose guns” loaded with 3 &1/2’s and the .416. In fact if you would like to send us a nice .577NE please contact us on our website. We don’t worry because first it won’t do any good, second we take real quality eye vitamins like Sportsmen’s Edge and finally we see our Ophthalmologist and have had our risks of this and other eye diseases assessed. Prevention and risk assessment is just prudent health care. Lastly, just so you know what to look for. No pun intended. Symptoms of retinal detachment commonly begin with the perception of flashing bits of light seen only in the affected eye (photopsia). This is thought to be due to mechanical stimulation of the nervous tissue resulting in its discharge of impulses to the brain. If you experience the photopsia with partial loss of vision in one eye, you need to see an ophthalmologist that specializes in retinal diseases ASAP. So like everything else, protect your vision. As usual enjoy the outdoors and be safe.