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What Is Pupillary Distance

At Oscar Wylee, we are dedicated to giving you the best eye care and ensuring that you have clear and comfortable vision. When it comes to making a pair of glasses that are right for you, having your pupillary distance (PD) measured is an important part of the process as it ensures that the lens sits correctly over your eyes.

What is pupillary distance (PD)?

A person’s pupillary distance (PD) is the measurement of the distance between the centre of each of your pupils. It is measured in millimetres and is used to ensure that your lenses are positioned correctly, giving you the best possible vision. Your PD is essential if you need glasses and will always be measured before you buy prescription eyeglasses.

If you’re unsure about your PD measurement, visit a New Zealand Oscar Wylee store near you and our friendly team can assist you.

pupillary distance
pupillary distance

Binocular vs monocular pupillary distance

There are two different kinds of pupillary distances. One measures the total distance between your pupils and the other is the two measurements between the centre of each pupil to the bridge of your nose.

Binocular PD

As explained above, binocular PD is the total measurement between your pupils.

Monocular PD

Monocular PD is necessary when a person’s eyes are not equally proportioned, where one pupil could be a few millimetres further away from the bridge of the nose than the other.

Monocular PD is usually written with Right Eye first and Left Eye second: 32/31.

What is the average pupillary distance (PD)?

While not everyone has the same pupillary distance, there is a common range they fall into.

  • Female average: 62mm
  • Male average: 64mm
  • Adult average: 63mm
  • Child average: 56mm

Why does PD matter?

When you buy a new pair of glasses, they will be made custom to your face, using elements such as your prescription and PD. By knowing the distance between your pupils, we can ensure that the optical centre of the eyeglass lens sits directly in front of your pupil, giving you the clearest vision.

How do I find my PD for glasses?

At Oscar Wylee, we recommend that you get your PD measured in-store by one of our team members. This can be done when you are being fitted for your new glasses using a pupillometer or PD metre.

If that is not an option for you, you are able to measure your pupillary distance at home using the provided guides below.

How to measure your pupillary distance at home

Measuring your pupil distance at home is very useful when you want to order prescription glasses online and already have your prescription but don’t know your PD.

You can measure your own PD using a millimetre ruler and a mirror.

  1. You will need a ruler, a mirror and torch (your phone will suffice).
  2. At a distance of about 20cm away, look front on into the mirror.
  3. Hold the ruler directly above your eyes and place it against your brows, making sure you keep your face front on to the mirror. Place your phone below your left eye, shining the light towards the mirror.
  4. Close your right eye and align the ruler from zero to the centre of the light reflection in the left pupil.
  5. Without moving your head or the ruler, open your right eye, close your left eye and move the light below your right eye. Read the millimetre line that lines up with the centre of the light reflection in your right pupil. This number represents your PD in millimetres.
  6. Repeat the entire process a few times to get a consistent measurement.

How to measure pupillary distance using old glasses

You can also measure your pupillary distance at home if you have an old pair of glasses, a non-permanent marker and torch as above.

  1. Stand roughly 20 centimetres away from a mirror wearing your glasses.
  2. Close one of your eyes and place the torch below the other.
  3. With the other eye open, put a dot with the marker directly over the light reflection seen in the pupil of the open eye on the lens.
  4. Without moving your head, repeat the previous step on your other eye so that you have two dots over each of your pupils.
  5. Measure in millimetres the distance between these two dots on the lenses to get your pupillary distance.

How to measure someone else’s pupillary distance

If you are struggling with measuring your PD by yourself, you can ask a friend to measure it for you.

This can be done with both the ruler and the glasses method by simply following the same steps. The only difference is you can keep both eyes open in the measuring process, whilst your friend closes one eye at a time as per above.

Make sure you are not looking at the friend’s open eye whilst measuring otherwise this will change the results of your PD.

How to measure pupillary distance for reading glasses

If you require your PD measurement for prescription reading glasses, you will need to know your Near PD which is calculated as 3-4 mm less than your Distance PD.

For example:

Distance PD: 63mm, Near PD: 63 - 3= 60mm

Useful tips for measuring your PD

  • Try and keep your head still and look straight ahead.
  • If you’re struggling to get an accurate measurement yourself, have someone help you measure!
  • If you’re still unsure or want an accurate measurement of your PD, visit a New Zealand Oscar Wylee store near you.

What happens if my pupillary distance is off?

It is crucial to get a correct measurement for your PD as an incorrect PD can affect the lenses so much that it can feel like you’re wearing someone else's glasses.

An incorrect PD can cause headaches, eye strain and blurry vision.

This is why it is recommended that you visit us in person to get your PD measured by an eye care professional. And for those who are unable to come in store, it is important to measure multiple times to get the most accurate results possible.

Does my PD change over time?

Your PD changes and increases as you grow from a young child into an adult as the skull shape changes and gets larger. But once you reach adulthood, it is very unlikely your PD will change.

Is my PD listed on my prescription?

No. In most cases, your PD will be taken after your eye test, when you have chosen your glasses and are in the process of placing the order. The dispenser will measure your PD with a pupillometer. This pupillary distance measurement is then added to your order which will be available to reference the next time you buy glasses.

I’ve got my PD. What happens next?

Once you have your PD measurement, you can progress to buying your prescription glasses. If you also have your prescription, you can buy your glasses online.

In-store at Oscar Wylee, we’ve got eyewear for every mood you’re in. Come into one of our New Zealand stores and browse our broad range of glasses and have fun trying on different styles and colours.

When buying online, Oscar Wylee has a face shape guide to help you pick your perfect pair.

Do You Need Your PD Measured?

Visit us in store and our friendly staff can assist you.

All major health funds accepted in store.

pupillary distance
pupillary distance

Due for an eye test?

We recommend everyone has a complete eye examination at least once every two years.

Book yours today with Oscar Wylee.