April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
The Relationship Between Pupillary Distance and Depth Perception in Humans
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. N. Mai
    Biology, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • M. A. Schlueter
    Biology, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  M.N. Mai, None; M.A. Schlueter, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 4359. doi:
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      M. N. Mai, M. A. Schlueter; The Relationship Between Pupillary Distance and Depth Perception in Humans. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):4359.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Depth perception is the ability to judge the relative spatial distance between objects. In the following research study, the role of age, gender, ethnicity, and pupillary distance (PD) on depth perception was investigated in more than 100 human subjects. It was hypothesized that a greater pupillary distance would increase a subject’s depth perception.

Methods: : In the following study, each human test subject completed a survey relating to their optical lifestyle (e.g. use of optical aids, eye dominance, age, gender, ethnicity), was given a visual acuity test, had their PD measured with a pupilometer, and were given a depth perception test. A subject’s depth perception was measured directly using a specially constructed depth perception apparatus. This device allows for a quantitative measure of depth perception ability.

Results: : Comparisons were made between gender and pupillary distance and between ethnicity and pupillary distance. Statistically significant differences were measured for both comparisons. On average, the pupils of males were farther apart than the pupils of females. Ethnic differences in PD were also discovered.Visual acuity was found to have a large effect on depth perception. Individuals with poor visual acuity (e.g. old eyeglasses) consistently scored lower than individuals with corrected vision of 20/20. Age and gender were found not to affect depth perception. In addition, the study’s results show that there was no relationship between depth perception and pupillary distance.

Conclusions: : The study’s hypothesis was not supported by the data. The results of this study found that pupillary distance is not related to depth perception. Humans use many factors to judge distances such as color vision, binocular cues, occlusion, elevation, and texture gradients. This experiment is important because it enables us to get a better understanding of the visual ability that humans have to aid them in their everyday life.

Keywords: binocular vision/stereopsis • pupil • image processing 

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