Where do I position my computer screen?

With people working on their dining room table or lying on their bed there are more complaints about comfort from a posture point of view (neck, shoulder and back pain).

There is also a few added things to consider if you use eyewear (specs or contacts) and how they impact how and where you position your screens.

Take a look at this chap who has his screen height at the traditional recommended position but his posture plays a massive role in his comfort.

Even if you get your posture right, your ability to see with glasses, particularly varifocal and occupational glasses will be hampered by three main things;
  • Number 1 - Screen is too high.  Many Health and Safety advisors will tell you to have your screen at eye level.  If you are using varifocal / progressive / occupational specs then this will almost certainly be too high.  To see through the stronger close up areas of your lenses your head will be tilted back and give you problems with your neck or shoulders.

Try and ensure that the top of the screen is just below your eye level.
  • Number 2 - Screen distance too close or too far away.  Try and get your screen at arm's length from you.  This should enable you to focus clearly with the right glasses and retain good head posture.  If it's too far away you will tend to arch your back and lean towards it, if it's too close you'll be putting your chin on your chest to see through the best area of your lenses. 
Sometimes with 1 and 2 you may not be able to move your screen or chair position to be in the optimum place and if this is the case we recommend you check with your optician that your glasses can be adjusted to work better in the environment you are working in.  You might just need a pair for that particular distance.
  • Number 3 - Incorrect glasses.  If you've checked your posture and your chair and monitor position and you are still struggling with headaches or neck and back pain it could easily be that your glasses are not quite right for you.  It might be that your prescription has changed or that you simply need glasses to help you work at a specific distance.  Have a chat with your optician to find out more about occupational lenses from Nikon.
Blue light

There is lots of talk about the harmful effects of blue light on the eyes and that screens emit loads of blue light.  Much of this is hype, you won't go blind!  However blue light will cause more eyestrain and tiredness with your eyes but the little twist here is that through evolution we use blue light to wake us up in the mornings and light from the red end of the spectrum to see at night.  Thus some people find too much screen use into the night can damage their sleep patterns.  Certainly if you struggle with your sleep patterns it might be worth considering a lens that filters blue light.  It certainly helps the author of this article!

Contact lens wearers

Contact lens wearers have slightly different problems when using screens for long periods.  As well as all the postural position issues above, did you know we blink less than half as often when we are using screens.  Not a problem for many of us but if you wear contact lenses you are likely to get dry eyes and significant discomfort.  Dry eyes not only feel uncomfortable they can't operate properly to give you clear and focussed vision.  Try and ensure you take regular breaks - 20 seconds of blinking every 20 minutes of screen use will help.  You can of course use comfort drops designed for use with contact lenses but if you are using them more than 2 or 3 times per day, get your contact lens optician to check you out.  There may well be a better contact lens or eye drop alternative.

I hope this helps you in your screen staring world.  We always welcome your feedback to optician@robertstanley.co.uk

Keep well