3 Factors to Consider for Monitor Placement June 28 2017

Ergonomic monitor placement.

Research suggests that among workplace injuries, improper placement of the computer monitor causes some of the most strain for workers. Eyestrain, neck pain and possibly even back injury can all be caused by poor monitor placement. Depending on your height and desk setup, it’s important to know how best to setup your computer monitor to avoid injury or muscle strain. When deciding where to place your monitor, consider these three factors: 


1. Vertical Monitor Location


The most common placement for monitors at computer workstations is at eye level, however this is not the most ideal position. The way the human eye is designed actually makes it easier for it to focus on objects slightly lower than the level of natural eye gaze. Research states that the optimal position placement for your computer monitor for a full view (from the screen top to bottom) is between 15 and 50 degrees below natural horizontal gaze. The lowering of your computer monitor prevents neck strain and eyestrain while improving your vision of the computer screen. When your computer is positioned at eye-level, there are a limited number of neck positions the worker can hold. When slightly lowered, a larger range of lower-tilting neck positions become available allowing the user to move their neck around instead of keeping it in one position for an extended period of time.


2. Monitor Tilt


For similar reasons as described above, having your monitor tilt forward or in an awkward way can lead to additional eyestrain and neck injury. Research has shown that tilting objects away from you (with the top further away than the bottom of the object) allows for better focus and a more comfortable natural neck position. This includes books, computer monitors, and other objects with printed or digital reading material. 


3. Eye-to-Screen Distance


Another important factor to consider is the distance from your eyes to the screen. The range over which your eyes must retain focus to bring characters on your screen into view should be optimized to reduce eyestrain. Try the following simple test to see what distance works best for your vision:


– Hold your index finger at arm's length directly in front of your eyes.


– Slowly bring your index finger closer to your nose, following your finger with your eyes.


– Recognize the distance at which your vision starts to become blurry.


The distance at which your vision begins to blur is known as your Distance of Convergence. This length varies from person to person, but generally averages at about 12 centimeters or almost 5 inches. When placing your monitor, take your unique Distance of Convergence and add 25 inches. If you feel you cannot read your screen effectively at this distance, enlarge the font or zoom in on your screen.


If your computer doesn’t have the functionality to place it in the most ergonomically safe way, consider purchasing a monitor arm to have greater control over your monitor’s placement. If you’re tall, a monitor stand can help give you an extra boost for height in a way that suits your eye gaze best. While monitor placement may seem like a simple or minimal issue, it can make a major difference for your neck, back, and eyes.