How far away from your monitor should you sit?

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Do I sit too close to my monitor? I usually lean in a lot when I'm playing games. — P.D.

Tough question with limited information. Maybe you're leaning in, but your chair is 150 feet from your desk. In that case, you're probably too far away from your monitor. But if your chair is in a normal position, like, right next to your desk, then you're probably too close. The typical advice is to sit at least an arm's length away from your monitor.

I covered some eye strain related topics in a previous Ask PC Gamer, and there's good advice in there (because I'm very good at eye advice—ask anyone). We've also gone over the best desk chairs, with a video guide featuring ergonomics expert Melissa Afterman (embedded above). She says your knees ought to be at about 90 degrees, or your elbows in line with your desk. You also want to be close enough to your keyboard that your elbows are near the side of your body, as reaching too much puts strain on your upper back. The mouse, says Afterman, should be as close to your keyboard as possible.

As for monitors, you want your eyebrows to meet the top-third of the screen so you aren't tilting your chin up. And as for distance, like I said, about an arm's length is good.

I do share this problem, though. When I'm working, I tend to lean in way too close to my display to read. And when I'm playing games, I tend to sit forward, especially if it's a competitive game. I now keep my keyboard right at the edge of my desk so I don't lean in. I've put stuff behind it, in front of my monitor, so I don't move it back. What I'm saying is that my desk is messy, but it has helped curb the habit. If I can't move my keyboard back, I can't lean in without putting my arms in an uncomfortable position.

If you're having eye strain problems, I recommend, first of all, having an eye exam. You might be sitting close to your monitor because you need corrective lenses. Another tip: try using F.lux to change the color temperature of your monitor when the sun goes down. I swear by it.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.