The performance of iris recognition is affected if iris is captured at a distance. Further, images captured in visible spectrum are more susceptible to noise than if captured in near infrared spectrum. This research proposes periocular biometrics as an alternative to iris recognition if the iris images are captured at a distance. We propose a novel algorithm to recognize periocular images in visible spectrum and study the effect of capture distance on the performance of periocular biometrics. The performance of the algorithm is evaluated on more than 11,000 images of the UBIRIS v2 database. The results show promise towards using periocular region for recognition when the information is not sufficient for iris recognition. © 2010 IEEE.