What’s the Best Distance to Sit Away From Your Monitor?

Overhead view of a person sitting at a desk using a computer.

Do your eyes hurt, feel dry, or get tired after looking at your monitor for extended periods? If so, you might be sitting too close or far from your screen. Let’s discuss the best distance you should sit away from your monitor.

Why Distance Matters

How far you sit from your monitor matters because sitting too close or too far can cause eye strain. The further away you are, the smaller everything will be on your screen. If you’re unable to see the contents clearly, you’re going to strain your eyes to read smaller text

On the other hand, if you sit too close, everything will be magnified, which makes it harder to take everything in. This will also overwork your eyes because you’ll be moving your eyes back and forth far often, which can get exhausting and lead to fatigue.

Reading larger text is easier on your eyes because you don’t have to strain. This is why it’s important to sit at a distance where everything on your screen appears large and sharp. You should never be moving your head closer to your screen or squint to see things. A small tip is to always set your default font to a sans-serif font, as it’s the most legible kind of font.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of eye strain, such as blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes, redness, pain, or another type of discomfort, you should take a break from looking at any screens if possible. Get some fresh air or lay down for a bit and close your eyes to give them time to rest.

How Far to Sit

Generally, the best distance to sit away from your monitor is an arm’s length. This will be between 20 and 30 inches away from your eyes.

You should be able to read the first line of text on your screen at eye level, without feeling the need to lean forward. Leaning forward puts your neck in an unnatural position, which can lead to neck pain.

If your eyes still feel tired and dry after a while, you might not be blinking enough. People tend to blink less as they stare at a monitor, so you’ll want to start blinking more to give them proper lubrication.

You may also be opening your eyes too widely when staring at the screen. If you think this is the case, try positioning your monitor slightly below eye level instead of at eye level. This way, you won’t have to open your eyes as wide to see the screen, which may reduce eye fatigue.

Multiple Monitors

When using multiple monitors, you’ll still want to maintain that 20-30 inch distance from your eyes–for all of them. Ideally, your monitors should be at the same level so that you’re not constantly moving your eyes up and down as you look from one screen to the next.

If one monitor isn’t as tall as another, place something under the shorter monitor to raise it up a bit. You can use cardboard, a book, printing paper, or another flat object you have lying around. You can also invest in a monitor riser stand that brings not just additional height but also organizational features.

With a two-monitor setup, you should sit in the middle of them to be in the center of both screens. This way, you won’t have to turn your head as much when looking back and forth between them. A three-monitor setup will feel better, as you can face one monitor directly in front of you and place the other two on the sides. It’ll feel like you’re using an ultrawide monitor.

Just make sure you’re not constantly turning your neck, as it can cause neck pain. The best way to avoid this is to turn your chair so that you’re facing the monitor you’re looking at. This will keep your neck stays in a more neutral position.

RELATED: The Best Posture for Long-Term PC Productivity and Gaming

What If I Have a Laptop?

Using a laptop isn’t really good in terms of ergonomics because the keyboard and screen are attached to the same device. The best solution for this is to get an external keyboard and mouse.

This way, you can use the laptop as the monitor screen, and you can place it an arm’s length away. You can place something underneath it, such as a laptop riser stand, to raise the screen to eye level or slightly below eye level. Then, you can sit away at a comfortable distance with the external keyboard and mouse and work like you would with a desktop computer.

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