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Thread: How far should your monitor be away from your eyes while reading?

  1. #1

    Default How far should your monitor be away from your eyes while reading?

    Some comments in another thread got me thinking. In the last few years, my eyes have begun to deteriorate. I've wondered if this has been exacerbated by all the time I spend reading on my computer. Also a few years ago, when I worked in an office, my cubicle was set up so my computer monitor was right on top of my face, this gave me terrible headaches, then in turn I've moved my monitor at home as far back as I could. As I'm typing now my monitor is 4 feet away (just measured it) from my face with the resolution set at 800x600 and this is my standard setup and has been for the last few years. I wonder now if this may be too far for reading and could be less than beneficial or even damaging.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Albuquerque New Mexico

    Default I am no Dr.

    but you sound to be far-sighted to "need" to be 4 feet away from your screen. I can see my screen at that distance, but it is more comfortable for me (recently confirmed better than 20/20) at about 2.5 feet...

    Might I suggest you go get your eyes checked to rule it out. eyestrain seems likely, if not the reason why you are having problems, then absolutely contributing to it.

    I will take a shot here.
    Do you use a CRT? My eyes were bothering me with my 17" CRT monitor, and frankly I was looking to enter the LCD world. I am so glad that I did. I got a great deal, and cannot imagine going back. (plus, I was a bit leary of the cathode rays bombarding my head during marathon BF2 game nights)

    I can wholly recommend this monitor, and vendor. The thing comes w/ factory set levels that need to be adjusted, (almost everyone says "it's too bright") in about 5 minutes you are good, and for the money, you can hardly do better. check out the reviews. be sure to make sure that your video card supports the wide screen res. on any wide screen monitor though. Most newer cards do (say, made in the last 3-5 years). By the way, the built in speakers should be regarded as slightly below a "bonus" as they are completely useless, and if you are real tall, you may have to get creative in placement, since the stand is non adjustable. I mention the caveats just as a heads up to a fantastic deal. by the way, that price is w/ free shipping and no rebate headaches...

    Edit: this monitor is tilt adjustable too. WOW, what a deal. I think I will buy another!!
    Last edited by Woknblues; 02-08-2007 at 03:43 AM. Reason: new info re:monitor
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  3. #3


    800x600? Have you tried 1280x1024 or 1024x768.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    I have an "Ergonomic Self Analysis Aid" right here on my desk. (My company is big on health and safety things, so I've had an ergonomic assessment done.) It says the top of the monitor should be at nose level approximately 18 to 20 inches away.

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  5. Default

    I am more or less an arms length away from my CRT monitor, and it set at a resolution of 1152x864. I don't think that the distance that you sit from the
    monitor is important as long as you are comfortable and you take regular breaks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central California... away from the earthquakes.


    Regular breaks are IMPORTANT. Just removing your eyes from the screen once in a while can do wonders.
    Last edited by liege; 02-08-2007 at 11:49 AM. Reason: sp

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central Ohio


    Quote Originally Posted by peacefrog View Post
    I have an "Ergonomic Self Analysis Aid" right here on my desk. (My company is big on health and safety things, so I've had an ergonomic assessment done.) It says the top of the monitor should be at nose level approximately 18 to 20 inches away.
    That height for the monitor is an industry standard. The last thing that you want to do is spend hours with your head tilted up or down in order to view the screen. As far as distance goes, I simply cannot work with the monitor that close to me because of how I see. I need it at about arms length from me so that it is in focus. It won't do me any good if I can't read what is in front of me.

    Monitor resolution is an individual preference, with the only advantage of higher resolutions being that there is more room on the screen for opened programs.

    Refresh rate is what can be the most important factor for those with tired eyes, or getting headaches from spending a long time in front of the screen. When it's a CRT monitor, the usual best bet is to use the setting labeled Optional for the refresh rate. If that doesn't work, then you can try higher refresh rates while keeping in mind that it can affect the colors and the performance of the computer. LCD monitors do not have adjustable refresh rates and they don't need to because of how they work.

    Eyes get tired in front of a CRT with a low refresh rate because the eye senses ("sees") the cycles even though we can't see it. The result is that the eye muscles associated with focus are constantly trying to adjust. If you have ever noticed that the screen has a flicker to it (especially if you look off to the side of the screen) that is a result of a low refresh rate. Higher refresh rates are fast enough that the eye doesn't see the cycles so it doesn't work so hard. No flicker. The typical minimum refresh rate should be set at 70 Hertz. I'm currently working at 85 Hertz on my monitor.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT


    I very recently went to the eye doctor after suffering terrible eye strain late in the day. He determined that reading and looking at my monitor (2ft away) was just wearing my eyes out. He gave me two prescriptions. An updated prescription for distance, which I need for driving, watching TV, etc. and a new prescription for reading. I do not need reading glasses at all but he told me they would help with the eye strain. They have not arrived yet but I am hopeful they will help. I've had other people tell me that putting on reading glasses later in the day helps with eye strain. I'd just go to the eye doctor. I also agree that breaks are important, though I usually can't take them.

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