Eye dominance is a critical piece of accuracy in archery. Many of us have a dominant eye that works harder than the other, and while we use both eyes to see objects all the time, your dominant eye focuses on an object or aiming point naturally, and our visual preference doesn’t always match up. Eye dominance is very important to be aware of, both for beginner archers and seasoned vets, and should affect the way you shoot. With about 70% of people, their dominant eye matches their dominant hand, but that means 30% of people have a dominant hand that does not match their dominant eye.
Shooting a bow with your non-dominant eye can be extremely frustrating. It may feel harder than it should, can be difficult to distinguish the actual target location, and you may have the tendency to turn your head to try to see out of your dominant eye. Perhaps the most obvious sign of eye dominance issues is extreme left or right groupings. If you have been shooting for years and have had problems with grouping to the extreme left or right (right handed shooters shooting extreme left, left handed shooters shooting extreme right), you may be shooting with a non-dominant eye. Here are a few recommendations for testing your dominant eye.
HOW TO DETERMINE EYE DOMINANCE. TEST 1
- Find an object that is 20-30 feet away
- Extend your arms out and make a circle with your hands.
- Keeping both eyes open, use the circle that you made and place it around the object you are looking at.
- Make sure the object stays in the circle at all times and pull your hands slowly back to your face.
- As you keep the object visible in the circle, our hands will naturally come back to your dominant eye.
HOW TO DETERMINE EYE DOMINANCE. TEST 2
- Extend your arm out in front of you.
- With both eyes open, raise your thumb or index finger and “place” it on a distant object.
- Close the left eye and observe the location of the object.
- Now open the left eye and close the right eye and observe the location of the object.
- The eye that keeps your thumb directly in front of the object while the other eye is closed is your dominant eye.
If the results of these tests tell you that your handedness and your dominant eye are opposite to each other, there are some adjustments you can make to your shooting. The first option is to find a bow that matches the dominate eye and retrain yourself to shoot with your non-dominate hand. This takes a lot of time, repetitive shooting, and discipline to accomplish and may not be the best option for everyone.
If you already own a bow and are shooting with your non-dominant eye (for example, right handed shooter, left eye dominant), you may want to try wearing an eye patch over your dominant eye. This obstructs your dominant eye from taking over and lets your non-dominate eye lead the way. You can also place a blinder on the side of your sight housing or clip a blinder to the brim of your hat. Like wearing an eye patch, they will inhibit your dominant eye from taking control of aiming, but eliminate the need to physically wear something over your eye.
A final recommendation is to close the dominate eye while shooting and leave the non-dominate eye open to aim. In many cases, this is the easiest option for many archers and, at times, has the best results.
These methods will cut down on your field of view while shooting down range but will help produce a more accurate and repeatable point of impact on your target.