Figuring out the exactly right sitting distance from a computer monitor can be a tricky proposition. There are a number of variables to consider before placing your office or home chair in front of a new display.
There are a number of factors that decide just how far to sit from a computer monitor during use. There is no one ideal distance, as it will vary depending on the make and model of the monitor itself. We have, however, assembled some useful guidelines.
Tip: There is no one ideal distance, as it will vary depending on the make and model of the monitor itself
Here are a number of factors to consider before sitting down in your chair and in front of a computer to do some work or even just to stream some movies. A major factor is to understand just how a computer monitor works, long before you purchase one.
For many standard computer monitor designs, consumers have been advised to perform the arm length test in order to reduce eye strain from a monitor. Simply put, place your chair approximately one full arm’s length away from the screen. Be aware, this only works when it comes to traditional displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio and is not applicable for ultrawide monitors like a 32 inch monitor for gaming.
Generally speaking, the minimum distance you should sit from your computer monitor can be dictated by your field of vision. The peripheral field of vision of the human eye makes a great tool to gauge if you are sitting too close to your monitor. If you are staring at the center of the display and cannot see the edges, take that as a cue that you are sitting too close. Note, this minimum distance does decrease slightly when it comes to curved monitor designs.
Tip: If you are staring at the center of the display and cannot see the edges, take that as a cue that you are sitting too close
Warning: Note, this minimum distance does decrease slightly when it comes to curved monitor designs
The size of the monitor will impact how far you should sit away from it. Especially if you purchase a big monitor like one of the top 10 27 inch gaming monitors, which you’ll have to also consider the cost of the monitor as well. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) suggests calculating your distance from the display and dividing it by 1.6 to find out the size of the largest monitor you can use.
Any formula intended to calculate the ideal viewing distance from a monitor has to contend with visual acuity. In other words, the calculation will depend on an individual user’s overall eyesight. 20/20 is a term used to describe optimal visual acuity, but this metric does not cover everyone who engages with a computer monitor. There are tests online to measure visual acuity. If you are squinting to see something on the display, then you are probably sitting too far away.
Individuals with perfect (20/20) vision or those with properly corrected vision are not likely to experience eyestrain while using a computer monitor at the ideal viewing distance, assuming they take appropriate eye “rest breaks” from focusing on the screen.