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September 09, 2021

What is the Ideal Ergonomic Monitor Height for Me?

By Paulina Wegrzyn.
Paulina Wegrzyn is a physiotherapist residing and practicing in British Columbia, Canada. She completed her Master’s in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada. She currently treats a large persistent pain population. Paulina is a certified pelvic floor physiotherapist, and takes a biopsychosocial approach to treatment. She uses a combination of education, manual therapy, soft tissue release, and exercise prescription with her clients. She is interested in educating others regarding the benefits of physiotherapy in order for them to feel empowered to take control of their health. She enjoys writing content related to this field of study as she believes that physiotherapy should be accessible to all.
Pauline - Masters Qualified Physiotherapist

 

Correct monitor height can help prevent eye strain, neck problems, and shoulder pain. Here is what you need to know regarding monitor ergonomics.

How Close Should My Monitor Be?

Your monitor screen should be at arm’s length away from you; when you are sitting, if your reach your arm straight forward, your fingertips should just touch the monitor. This will reduce strain on your eyes and allow your neck to rest in a neutral position.

What is the Best Ergonomic Monitor Height?

When seated at the computer, the top of your computer screen should be level with your natural line of sight. This does not mean that the monitor height should be directly at eye height, but rather at the level where your gaze naturally falls when your eyes are relaxed and looking straight ahead.

You do not want your neck to be constantly craning upwards to see the content of your screen or your neck to be constantly flexed downwards- when it comes to monitor height, neutral is best. This set-up is ergonomically optimal. Since you will most often be looking at the middle of your monitor, adjusting your screen height in the manner described above means that you will be looking slightly downwards. This will keep your neck in a neutral alignment throughout the day.

An adjustable monitor arm may help in getting the correct monitor position.

If you wear bifocals, lower the screen even more, so as to minimize your neck movements when looking through different parts of your lenses.

How Should I angle my monitor?

Your computer screen should angle up towards your face, which decreases the strain on your neck and eyes. Tilt the top of your monitor back about 3 centimeters. This will bring your screen to a 10-15 degree angle, which ensures that your neck does not have to be constantly moving for your eyes to comfortably read the screen. You have achieved the right screen angle if your gaze naturally falls upon the address bar (or URL bar) of your internet browser. If it is looking above or below this landmark, adjust the tilt of your screen accordingly. This is an ergonomic screen angle.

 

Risks of Incorrect Monitor Set-Up

Often, individuals set up their monitor so that it is too low. This will result in your eyes constantly looking too far downwards. To decrease the strain on one’s eyes, people tend to then tilt their necks downward. Sitting in this forward flexed position for prolonged periods of time can strain your posterior neck muscles. If the neck is strained, people then have a tendency to round their shoulders and their upper back, to relieve the tension that they are placing on their neck. This forward head posture and rounding of one’s shoulders and back can create a lot of strain and injury over time, and can lead to problems like persistent neck pain, loss of shoulder range of motion, or upper cross syndrome.

Work Surface Height

Ideally, the work surface upon which your monitor is placed should be adjustable. Consider purchasing a sit-stand desk, which will allow this flexibility. When sitting, the ideal monitor work surface is usually between 63cm and 73cm, depending on your height. An adjustable desk allows one to ensure a proper monitor height, especially for shorter individuals who may be arching their neck to see their screens in a standard office setup. If doing paperwork tasks that do not require a monitor, your desk height should be adjusted to 2.5-5cm above your elbow height if you are sitting in a chair.

Summary

When it comes to monitor height ergonomics, the rule of thumb is that neutral is best. An ideal monitor height is one in which your neck is not craning upwards or bending too far forwards, but one in which you can remain in a neutral neck, shoulder, and upper back alignment at most times. Some simple adjustments to your office set up can make a large impact on your overall posture, which can decrease the strain you place on your body while sitting.

 

 


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