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5 Tips for Optimizing Monitor Position

Thursday, April 16, 2009
By Anne Kramer

Creating ergonomic workstations is an excellent strategy for improving employee health and productivity. A critical aspect of designing an ergonomic workstation is positioning the monitor correctly. A properly placed monitor reduces the risk of injuries like eyestrain, neck pain, and upper back problems. Following five simple principles makes positioning the monitor quick and easy.

  1. Keep the monitor aligned with the shoulders. When in use, the monitor should be directly in front of the body, to prevent swiveling of the head and neck. For people like bank tellers, putting the monitor in this position would interrupt interaction; placing the monitor on a swivel arm is an excellent alternative, because it allows the user to place the monitor correctly as needed, and to move it out of the way easily.

  2. Put the monitor at arm’s length. When seated all the way back in the chair, the user should be able to graze the screen with the fingertips. Monitors larger than 20 inches should be placed slightly farther away. Maintaining this distance between the user and the screen prevents eyestrain and headaches.

  3. Adjust the height of the monitor. The top of the screen should be at eye level, which can be accomplished with monitor risers or an adjustable chair. For screens larger than 20 inches, the eyes should hit roughly three inches below the top of the screen. An exception to this guideline is if the user wears bifocals or trifocals to view the computer. In this case, the monitor should be a few inches lower, so it is not necessary to tilt the head downward to look through lower lenses.

  4. Tilt the monitor slightly upward. This makes it easier to view the whole screen, reducing eyestrain and headaches. It is important, however, not to tilt the screen so far upward that the overhead lights cause glare on the screen. If the work surface is too high to accommodate tilting the monitor upward, it can be tilted downward, but only as a provisional modification. In this instance, a higher chair or lower work surface would be ideal.

  5. Minimize glare. The reflection from overhead lights and windows can make viewing the screen more difficult and contribute to eyestrain. The brightness of the screen should also match that of the surroundings. Therefore, it is important to eliminate contrast between the screen and whatever is behind it. If repositioning the monitor does not adequately reduce glare, an anti-glare screen is an economical alternative.
Adjusting the position of the monitor ensures correct posture and protects against eyestrain. By modifying the monitor’s position, height, and angle, pain in the neck and upper back can be eliminated. Reducing glare and contrast makes computer usage more gentle on the eyes.

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