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How to Get Your Pupillary Distance: 3 Fun Ways

How to Get Your Pupillary Distance

When ordering a new pair of eyeglasses online, you’ll want to know your pupillary distance (PD) to complete the transaction. And while your glasses prescription contains all the information you need, you may not have it on hand. But don’t worry, it’s pretty simple to get your PD on your own. In this article, you’ll learn what pupillary distance is, why it’s important, and how to get it yourself using the ReadingGlasses.com printable PD ruler.

What is Pupillary Distance?

Measured in millimeters, the pupillary distance (PD) in glasses is the distance between the centers of your pupils. It is used to make sure you are looking through the center of your lens. Otherwise, if you are looking off-center, it may cause distortion, headaches, or blurriness.

Average Pupillary Distance

In adults, the average is PD is between 54-74 mm, and in kids, it’s between 43-58 mm. Keep in mind, It’s always best to have your exact measurement to ensure a good fit when your glasses arrive in the mail.

How to Get Your PD

While it may seem confusing at first, obtaining your pupillary distance on your own is easy. We’ve got you covered with three quick, straightforward ways to do the PD measurement yourself.

The Ruler Method for Finding Your PD

Total Time: 10 Minutes | Total Cost: $0

The ruler method for obtaining your PD is quick and easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Millimeter Ruler: This can be found at most stores that carry school or office supplies. Additionally, you can download and print the ReadingGlasses.com PD ruler.
  • Mirror: You can use any mirror you’d like for this. You could also use a friend or family member.

Next, you’ll want to follow these steps to get an accurate PD measurement on your own:

  1. Take your millimeter ruler or your paper ruler and stand 8 - 10 inches away from a mirror. Take the “zero” end of the ruler and pull it close to your face.
  2. Find the border between the white part (sclera) of the eye and the colored part (iris) on your RIGHT eye. Line up the zero mark with this border on the “ear” side of your face.
  3. Hold the ruler straight across your face, and line it up with the white/color border of your LEFT eye, but this time on the “nose” side of your face.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least three times to get an average of the readings for better accuracy of the measurement.

*Note: Most suggestions in measuring your PD say that you should measure the middle of your pupil, but this way might be inaccurate since some people have dark pupils and dark irises, which makes it hard to determine where the pupil stops and the iris starts. Because of that, you might be off a few millimeters. By measuring from the white/color border of the eye, you have a more tangible way of doing it.

Using Old Glasses to Find Your PD

Total Time: 15 Minutes | Total Cost: $0

Another easy way to get your PD is to use an old pair of glasses. To get started, you will need the following items:

  • An Old Pair of Glasses: Any pair of old prescription glasses will do for this method.
  • A Felt Tip Marker: You will want to use a dark-colored marker that is easily washable - preferably a dry erase marker.
  • Mirror: You can use any mirror you’d like for this. You could also use a friend or family member.
  • Millimeter Ruler: This can be found at most stores that carry school or office supplies. Additionally, you can download one online, but make sure you print it in “actual size".

Once you have gathered your materials for this method, follow these steps to find your PD:

  1. Put on your old eyeglasses and have your felt tip marker ready.
  2. Start by standing 8 to 10 inches away from your mirror. Looking straight ahead, take the felt tip marker and dot the center of your pupils (dark part of the center of the eye) on your eyeglasses in each eye.
  3. Remove your glasses and use a millimeter ruler to measure the distance between the dots. This measurement should be your PD measurement.

*Note: You can use the eyeglass method by yourself, or better yet, if you have someone that can mark the lenses for you, that would be easier and more accurate.

Call Your Eye Doctor for Your PD

This way is probably the quickest, easiest, and most accurate way to get your PD. If you’ve purchased eyeglasses from an eye doctor’s office or an optical shop before, they would have your PD measurement on file

It sounds simple, but some opticians and eye doctors don’t like having you buy glasses online and will sometimes refuse to give you the PD measurement.

Luckily, most states are required to give you a copy of your eyeglass prescription, and that includes your PD measurement. Check with your state’s board of opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists for more information. They will be glad to give you the local statute when it comes to releasing your PD as well as any extra fees involved.

Putting It All Together

There’s no denying that online sales of eyewear will increase as the years go by. It’s just the trend that’s happening today. You’ll still go to your eye doctor to get your eye exam, but your choice of where you’ll get your eyewear will be expanding to the online world.

A PD measurement is essential to do this, and thankfully, there are so many DIY ways of getting that important number.

Thumbnail of the PD Ruler PDF file

Download PD Ruler

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