How to Choose Glasses – Your PD


Ask your optometrist what your PD is – what’s a PD?  It’s your pupillary distance – that is the distance between your two pupils.  Why does it matter?

Rather than try on 2000 frames and getting completely confused and overwhelmed by choice, your PD may preclude you from some frames.  If you look on the temple (that’s the arm of the glasses), you may see some numbers written there – the number that is between about 40 and 70 is the PD of the glasses – so it’s made to fit a certain distance of pupils.
We expect the pupils to sit slightly closer to the inside of the frame than the outside, but fairly central to the centre of the lense.  If you have a small PD of 40 or so, you will need a frame with a smaller PD, and trying on glasses with a PD of 60 will make you look almost cross-eyed.  If you have a wide PD then trying on glasses with a narrow PD will make your eyes look like they’re almost on the side of your head.
If you have a wide face but narrow PD, look for frames that don’t have a heavy temple/side bar.
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Knowing your PD can make choosing glasses so much easier.


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  • Thanks for posting tips on how to choose glasses. I certainly hope there’s more coming. I have very poor eyesight, cannot wear glasses, and am not a candidate for correction surgery so I have to wear glasses all the time. I’ll be having my prescription updated in a couple weeks and shopping for new specs then. It is a thoroughly overwhelming task since the one item defines my appearance for a year or so since it’s not within my budget to purchase multiple pairs.

  • Why does the eye person mark dots on the lenses where your pupils are? Then send them to have the lenses made and put in.

  • Merry – glad to be of some help. Don’t rush the decision and shop around at different optometrists, the ranges of frames will be different – it’s a big purchase, so don’t be rushed.

    Sandy – not sure – that’s a technical question – my guess would be to ensure that if the lenses are progressive, or if the edge of your lens is different thickness to the middle, then they know where to ‘centre’ the field of vision.

  • Thank you for posting this great info! You explained this to me a while back when commenting on my blog and it was very helpful. I still have NOT bought new glasses, but am planning on it, hopefully sometime over the summer.

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