Surely your parents used to say this over and over: “do not sit so close to the TV” or “get away from the monitor or you will have to wear glasses.” These phrases lack important arguments that may make us think they are right, although we never know. Were our parents right?
Is there a safe distance when sitting in front of the monitor?
Our parents are concerned because, by 1960, defective TVs emitting a huge amount of X-rays were created, making them very harmful devices that would force us to wear glasses.
After almost 60 years, we can confirm that TVs and monitors do not emit any type of radiation that is so harmful to the eyes. However, being exposed to our monitor’s backlight for long periods of time can have a negative effect: eye strain.
Eye Strain or Asthenopia
You’ve definitely felt this many times, since it happens when your vision is focused on something for a long time: a magazine, books, screens, an object… When focusing your vision, the muscles in the eyes become tense to help you focus on the object. If we stay like this for a long time muscles can get strained and produce pain or discomfort.
When we are in front of a screen, this can happen even faster, since our eyes need to constantly adapt to the brightness of the screen and the darkness of the surroundings.
Eye strain can be avoided by taking away your eyes from the screen frequently, increasing the number of times you blink when watching the screen and reducing the level of brightness so it is easier for your eyes to adapt to the changes between the screen and the room.
There is no exact distance to sit at in front of a screen
The main reason not to sit too close to the screen is not losing visual quality. Being too close to the screen can aggravate the asthenopia and cause you to see the image on the screen in a lower quality. If you can see the entire monitor with just a glance, meaning that you don’t have to move your head to see the entire screen, then you are at the right distance.
In high resolution screens it is more difficult to differentiate pixels because these are smaller, but if you have a screen with lower resolution, you’ll know you are too close to it when you can differentiate the pixel zones.