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How far away should your monitor be for gaming?

As you read this, your eyes are about 20 cm away from the monitor in front of you. And that’s how far you should keep your monitor when playing games: at a distance of 20 cm or about 8 inches.

Let us explain why we recommend keeping your monitor this close and what happens if you do not pay attention to the viewing distance.

At shorter distances like these, ergonomics becomes very important because if aligning yourself with the screen is too much for your body (e.g., may be an uncomfortable chair), it will quickly lead to visual strain and headaches among other symptoms.

This can be problematic especially when focusing on details on smaller objects such as texts and small buttons in video games, also during general usage like watching movies or browsing the web.

At slightly longer distances like 40-50 cm, ergonomics are still important but not as critical because visual strain starts to decrease, while your eyesight keeps getting worse over time. This is why people recommend sitting further away.

But at this distance, it becomes more difficult to see smaller details on monitors that have low pixel density (ppd) . Also, you might lose some sense of immersion when playing games on larger screens – this becomes easier if you’re around 40-60 cm away from the monitor – because objects start getting smaller and lose their fidelity which can be frustrating during gaming sessions where object size and detail is key to gauging the atmosphere and gameplay fluidity.

To conclude: Viewing distance recommendations are based on ergonomics: the amount of strain put on your eyes versus how far you are away from the screen. Strain itself is directly related to pixel density, i.e., ppd .

The higher the ppd, or pixels per inch, the less vision-related strain because objects start getting smaller and easier on the eyes. Note that this has nothing to do with a resolution where more pixels means more detail – but at a certain point of diminishing returns, too many pixels become useless because they are so small that your eyes cannot discern any difference in detail at all. Hence, if you sit close enough to be unable to see individual pixels but still have difficulty seeing details clearly due to low ppd, monitor size becomes important as well.

What happens when you start shifting your viewing distance farther than recommended?

Your body will not automatically adjust by increasing the amount of strain put on the eyes. If the strain is still too great, it can cause headaches and eye discomfort that can persist for hours or even days after the interaction with your monitor.

However, if you sit closer to compensate for smaller screen size, but within ergonomic limits, strain decreases and so does fatigue because you are more likely to encounter easier details on objects such as texts and small buttons.

This makes playing games much easier especially for longer sessions where eyestrain otherwise becomes an issue very quickly.

We recommend keeping these aspects in mind when buying a new monitor:

1) Ergonomics:

The angle between the neck and the line of sight should be about 90 degrees.

The feet under your chair should support your thighs so that there is no contact between the knees and the underside of the desk. Your monitor should not be too close to your eyes, roughly about 20 cm/8 inches away from your face.

2) Pixels per inch:

The higher this value, the better you can see small details on objects such as texts and small buttons. However, after a certain point, it becomes difficult for your eyes to discern any difference in detail at all (hence diminishing returns).

So if you sit close enough where individual pixels start becoming visible but it becomes difficult seeing details due to low ppd, monitor size becomes important as well.

3) Viewing distance:

The standard viewing distance recommended by ergonomics is about 40-50 cm, roughly about 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal length of your monitor.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule because it varies depending on people’s personal preferences and how far they can accurately see each individual pixel using their eyesight. The further you go beyond these distances, the more strain you put on your eyes which may lead to headaches and discomfort that can last for hours or even days.

If you prefer playing games at farther distances than ergonomics recommend, consider getting a larger monitor with higher ppd where objects start getting smaller and easier for you to see details clearly even if it means diminishing returns after a certain point (such as getting a 24-inch monitor with 1080p resolution).

Remember to only increase the size of your monitor if you sit close enough where individual pixels start becoming visible but it becomes difficult seeing details due to low ppd, otherwise, you may lead to straining your eyes which can cause headaches and discomfort that can last for hours or even days.

Note that this has nothing to do with a resolution where higher resolution means more detail – but at a certain point of diminishing returns, too many pixels become useless because they are so small that your eyes cannot discern any difference in detail at all.

Hence, if you sit close enough to be unable to see individual pixels but still have difficulty seeing details clearly due to low ppd, monitor size becomes important as well.

The standard viewing distance recommended by ergonomics is about 40-50 cm, roughly about 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal length of your monitor.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule because it varies depending on people’s personal preferences and how far they can accurately see each individual pixel using their eyesight.

The further you go beyond these distances, the more strain you put on your eyes which may lead to headaches and discomfort that can last for hours or even days.

If you prefer playing games at farther distances than ergonomics recommend, consider getting a larger monitor with higher ppd where objects start getting smaller and easier for you to see details clearly even if it means diminishing returns after a certain point (such as getting a 24-inch monitor with 1080p resolution).

Remember to only increase the size of your monitor if you sit close enough where individual pixels start becoming visible but it becomes difficult seeing details due to low ppd, otherwise, you may lead to straining your eyes which can cause headaches and discomfort that can last for hours or even days.

Note that this has nothing to do with a resolution where higher resolution means more detail – but at a certain point of diminishing returns, too many pixels become useless because they are so small that your eyes cannot discern any difference in detail at all.

Hence, if you sit close enough to be unable to see individual pixels but still have difficulty seeing details clearly due to low ppd, monitor size becomes important as well.

Conclusion :

It is important to remember that a monitor should be at eye level for gaming. This will help you avoid neck and back pain from looking down too long. The right height for your computer screen depends on the size of your desk, but it also needs to allow room for arm movement without hitting any other objects in front of you.

If this sounds like something you need help with, we can send one of our experts out to take measurements so they can recommend an optimal distance between your eyes and the screen based on how tall or short you are as well as the space available around your chair and peripherals. Let us know if there’s anything else we should consider!

Written by Jacob Glenn

Jacob has probably spent thousands of hours learning about displays in his free time and prior work experience. He now writes and manages PerfectMonitors to ensure it stays as the people's favorite resource.

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