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.

Ideal Viewing Distance From a Monitor

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

How Far Away Should I Sit From a Display?

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.

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Arm Length Test

For many standard computer monitor designs, consumers have been advised to perform the arm length test. 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.

Calculating Minimum Distance

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

Monitor Size

The size of the monitor will impact how far you should sit away from it. 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.

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Visual Acuity Distance

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.

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STAT:

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.

Sources:

https://www.smpte.org/

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_monitors.html#:~:text=Generally%2C%20the%20preferred%20viewing%20distance,be%20increased%20for%20smaller%20monitors.

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coxTIYUFH_E

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1518/001872001775992480

Ideal Viewing Distance From a Monitor FAQ

Why does the position of your computer screen matter?

Sitting in front of a computer screen all day while at an incorrect distance can lead to health complications, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and posture issues.

Do you know the best positioning of your computer screen?

The best, or ideal, positioning of the computer screen depends on the display’s overall size, the aspect ratio, and the visual acuity of the user.

What’s the best viewing distance for a 1440p gaming monitor?

This depends on the monitor’s aspect ratio and the display’s overall size. If it is not an ultrawide monitor, try a simple arm’s length test.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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