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Monitor height – where should it be?

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When it comes to the recommendation for monitor height there is a pretty standard convention that suggests that the top of the screen should be located at about eye level. In my opinion this is a great place to start but it is not as simple as setting it at that height for everyone.

 

One of the reasons that I say this is that monitor sizes have changed over time. And due to that the past recommendation for setting the screen in a certain position does not always result in an optimum position for the individual.

 

When completing a workplace ergonomic assessment I always recommend that my clients consider several factors when determining the correct monitor height:
– Ideally, they should be able to operate their computer and view the monitor with their head evenly balanced on their cervical spine, maintaining a relaxed posture through their neck and shoulders. In this position, the weight of the head should be distributed evenly about the centre of gravity. If the head needs to tip forwards to look down at the lower portions of the screen this can place a static load on soft tissues and require prolonged activation of muscles which will potentially lead to discomfort and injury.
– Consideration of the individual’s requirement to wear glasses needs to be factored into monitor placement – graduated or multifocal lenses may mean that a different setup recommendation is required for that client.
– Larger monitors are effectively “taller” meaning that the distance between the top and bottom of the screen is greater – if you set the top of the monitor at eye level then the lower portion of the screen will be too low for their natural gaze or field of vision and therefore forward flexion of the neck will be required. Sustained or repetitive forward neck flexion can lead to discomfort and injury.

 

So the recommendation I give to my clients is to always make adjustments to their monitor when they are seated (or standing) in a comfortable upright posture with their head evenly balanced over their shoulders. I then ask them to look straight ahead and ensure that their main working area is within their natural gaze range and that they can see the lower portions of the screen by comfortably looking down with their eyes. If needed I suggest that they actually adjust their screens so that the top of it is a couple of centimetres above eye level, but not so high that they need to extend through their neck to see it clearly.

 

Sometimes achieving the optimum monitor placement requires a bit of trial and error.  I always suggest that it may take a couple of days to get used to a new monitor position and that during that time my client should assess both their comfort and ability to complete the required tasks on their screen – a small amount of tweaking up or down may be required.

 

If you are having difficulties in determining the correct monitor height for you then a formal workplace ergonomic assessment may be of assistance to you. Please contact Ergo Experts to discuss your specific situation and allow us to help you to achieve enhanced comfort at your workplace or home office.  Click here to get in touch.

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