Pupil Distance & How It’s Measured

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Pupil distance is the distance (measured in mm) between the pupils of your eyes when looking far away in the distance.

When prescription lenses are cut for the frame you have selected, our edging computers are programmed with your pupil distance so that the exact centers of the lenses are directly in front of your pupils.

Why is this measurement important?

If the prescription lenses are not set at the same distance as the distance between your eyes, then an unwanted prism is induced which may cause eyestrain.

In lower prescriptions, the amount of prism induced will be of no consequence and will not cause eyestrain. For prescriptions over (+) or (-) 2.00, knowing your P.D. is important.

How Pupil Distance is measured in mm

How do I get my P.D. measured?

Ask your eye doctor to take the measurement at the time of your eye examination.

Call the last place that made your glasses for you and they should be able to tell you what it is.

Go into any Optical facility and ask them to measure it for you. It will take only seconds to do and they shouldn’t charge you for it.

Use the new PDCaptureSM: FramesDirect’s Pupillary Distance Measurement Service.

Monocular or Binocular?

Pupil distance can be measured in one of two ways. The first is monocular measurement, which will result in values somewhere between 26-36 mm.

The second type is a binocular measurement, in which case the number will typically be somewhere between 54-72mm. A binocular measurement is the exact total distance between your eyes, but if your face is not perfectly symmetrical, then this number may not be split equally between both of your eyes.

What if my P.D. is written 66/63?

The first number is the P.D. number we require to make your lenses. The second number (63) is the near pupil distance. This number is only needed when reading glasses are required.

It you still have questions or concerns about your P.D. measurement, please call 1-800-248-9427 and one of our highly trained operators will be able to help you.

Related pages & posts: Top Eyewear & Optical Tools, Vision Prescriptions for Babies – How?, Eye Exam Coming Up? Read On, Reading Glasses, Video: Measuring Pupil Distance.

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  • Syd
    December 2, 2013

    The professionals comments below and my own personal experiences having tried ordering from a brick and mortar as well as online, though I understand their discontent with today’s “manipulative” consumer who uses the established local high overhead professional or store just for information but then spends their money with the low overhead online store who often lacks the knowledge and service. I totally get that frustration. BUT with eyeglasses and contacts we’re not just talking about saving a few bucks here. We’re talking about buying online becoming a revelation that the shops are gouging the crap out of us. I bought glasses from Costco for example. All shops force you to renew your exam every year to the tune of about $70 – $85. I feel I did not get a very accurate prescription, nor very good advice on choosing frames, and my glasses cost $350. They took close to 2 weeks to arrive at which time I had to drive to the store to get them. Fast forward to now, and I can order a pair online for $185, delivered to my door in less than one week and with a full money back guarantee no questions asked. If I don’t like the color, the style, the prescription, etc, ship back and they’ll refund me or remake them! Every time I call in I get polite informative service, and a qualified optician available. If they can afford to do this, it tells me that there are huge profit margins in these products, and my sympathy for the gougers tends to fade. I have no benefits from employment, a family to take care of, and between the dentists, the opticians, the chiropractors, etc, I could go broke… It’s interesting that these professions are way more reasonable in most other countries… can get dental work done in Mexico or many parts of Europe for a fraction of the cost here….

  • Joseph
    May 28, 2013

    Wow Optician, when you say you will never give a correct PD, that really is criminal. Its called MEDICAL MALPRACTICE and you can be sued for it as well as risk losing your license for either a period of time or life. Even if it is only for a period of time you will end up with a black mark against you that persists throughout your career in any medical or optical field.
    Information – I’m an attorney I know these laws well

  • Ted Wojciechowski
    April 8, 2013

    Interesting! Very…very interesting! The length a practicing physician would go to in order to be deceptive. The Doctor who posted that he would purposely give out incorrect measurements, that’s just criminal; were you absent the day the hippocratic oath was taken? Do no harm! You are trash! and so is Dr. J. I’m reporting this site to the better business bureau and the FBI on line fraud site. Doctor’s if you don’t provide PD then state the reasons why, lying to patients, giving false measurements, over charging is WRONG! Wow, now I understand why my Dr. And his staff have chosen to lie.
    Scum!! Deceptive scum!!!!!

  • Todd
    April 1, 2013

    Wow…..it looks to me like there are a bunch of greedy optometrist posting on here. Another reason to order eyeglasses online.

  • Optician
    January 6, 2013

    I am a practicing optician of 16 years. I agree whole heartedly with Dr. J. If you ask me for a free PD, i will NOT EVER give an accurate measurement. I generally give a pd of 50mm. Let the online sellers deal with the remake.

  • DR. J
    December 13, 2012

    Some food for thought and a few scenarios to consider: I paid to go to school to learn these procedures and do them well. I own a business and pay for the structure I practice in and the equipment I use to service the public from rulers to refractors, I pay utilities and property taxes to keep my business open with four walls and doors and light and air. Even garbage men don’t work for free!!

    1) We are speaking of people walking in off the street, having not paid for any services and asking for the procedure of pupillary distance measurement so they can go to a serviceless website and buy a product.

    2. If a patient of mine after the exam requests their RX to go elsewhere, I don’t consider, nor does the law say PD is part of exam. Behind refractor I center pt. by “eye”. The PD is part of eyewear dispensing services-if I’m not dispensing to the pt-I don’t take out my $300.00 pupillometer. If pt. wants PD, I add $10.00 as a dispensing service.

  • Clif
    November 25, 2011

    The prescribing practices are under no obligation to provide PD free of charge. You can certainly argue that, being your eyes, you are entitled to know everything about them that is available to be known, but this is not a legal requirement.

  • Jim
    November 22, 2011

    Wallmart used to give you free your PD but no more. I know of no optical store that will give it to as part of the eye exam prescription process. They may if you pay an extra $5-$25 which should be an illegal charge. Agree?

  • Jim
    November 22, 2011

    Recently I went for an eye exam and then found that the cost of the frames and lens purchased at their on site store was about 4 times more than I could afford. I asked for my PD as there was a designated column on the prescription form marked PD where that number should have been entered.
    They refused to give me the measurement saying it was seperate and they were not obligated to provide it so I called the state optimetric controlling office and the nice(at first) lady manager there called my optician office and told them that they “should” provide the PD. The next day I returned to get the PD and the manager said I had to pay an extra $5.32 more than the original $25 I had paid for the exam. She said that the person from the state controlling office told her that she was allowed to charge that amount to provide the PD. I said that was not legal but she would not budge and then walked away. I did not pay. I researched more online and found that there is a big stink and battle going on between those for and against weather or not the PD must be provided with an eye exam. Seems that it all revolves around the optical store holding the “patient” hostage by withholding the PD because they think(correctly most of the time) that will force you to purchase eye glasses at their location at grossly inflated prices as the PD is required(absolutly) for the construction of a pair of eye glasses to be carried out correctly. I found out on line how to measure the PD by myself as my prescription did not have a basic diopitor requirement over +/- 2.00 meaning an error or 1 or 2 mm
    for the PD would not matter in my case but a very accuratre PD is required for a greater diopitor requirement. The reason someone gets an eye glass prescription is to have all the information necessary to make a correct pair of eye glasses and there has been no confirmed evidence submitted to the controlling authorities subtantiating any claim that online eyeglass pvoviders have adversly affected the safety of the public.

  • tony
    January 11, 2011

    No doctor will give you the PD specially the ones make the eye glasses.
    Because if they give you that then they are loosing their business, this way
    every one can order their glasses on line. I tried that and they wont give me the PD
    so i had to order a pair of glasses in order to get PD
    Yes at the time of examination, the eye doctor might give, but i never asked for
    Next time i will….
    PD is very important because, i have photo lenses and it give me HA to put them on whereas single vision is OK

  • Frank
    September 13, 2010

    Paul, Even for on line ordering you would be wise to obtain a current prescription from your optician . This is the only safe way to obtain a correct analysis of your eye condition and the PD. I would never second guess the requirements of reading glasses.

  • The Eyeglasses Guy
    November 12, 2009

    You should be able to go in to an optical in your local mall and get that done for free. It will take about 60 seconds to do and it does NOT require an entire exam to be done. If you are an adult and have had glasses made before; that measurement never changes. Call your previous optical and ask them what is the measurement that they used. You can use that same measurement.

    DO NOT measure your own Pupil Distance. A PD measurement MUST BE measured by an authorized optical professional only.

  • Jen Sekerak
    November 12, 2009

    I am ordering glasses online, and I had five friends measure my pupil distance, they got 59, 61.61.62 and 62…which number should I go with? I called the eye doctor and they said that I would have to pay for a whole appointment, is it alright if I go by my friends measurements?

  • Richard Burckhardt
    April 16, 2009

    Here’s what I got from the doctor:

    “She should be looking at the bridge of your nose with you standing about 20 inches or almost arms length in front of her. If you have a copy of her original prescription with the distance PD we can determine what the near PD should be.

    Dr. Dhavid Cooper

  • Phil Dlouhy
    April 16, 2009

    I’m planning on ordering on-line a second pair of reading glasses for my wife to use around the house.
    Re: ordering glasses for reading only purposes for my wife
    I have one question: Should I measure her PD when she is looking at a distant object or should this be when she is looking as something only a couple of feet away as she will only be using these for reading and not distance vision.


    Phil Dlouhy

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