To understand Monitor Ergonomics, we have to first understand our neck and head posture - and how the position of our monitors affect us.
The ideal computer posture in relation to your computer screen or monitor is
an upright (but not necessarily erect) head position.
Horizontal Line of Sight
Image scanned in via Office Ergonomics: Practical Applications
Assuming you are at this position as shown in the picture, your gaze will naturally follow 'straight ahead'. This is called the horizontal line of sight.
However, it is unnatural for us to keep a horizontal line of sight for long periods of time. So we tend to relax our heads and then our eyes will naturally adopt a downward gaze as indicated in the picture. This is then called a "preferred viewing area".
How does this affect us?
"The screen should be positioned so that the top of the screen does not move above the user's horizontal line of sight." - Celine Mckeown, author of Office Ergonomics, Practical Applications.
If we operate outside of this guideline, we'll probably experience eye strain and neck aches.
If our monitor is placed too high, we will work with our heads raised and add strain. Monitors which are too low will cause heads and necks to bend forward.
This also means that everyone should have the height of their computer monitors personalized.
What happens if more than one person uses the computer?
Restrict long hours of use for each person. The one who uses that computer the most will adjust it to himself/herself.
There are some ergonomic tools that you can use to comply your family computer with monitor ergonomics (which I will touch base on further down the page.)
Ideal Ergonomic Monitor's Checklist
The ideal ergonomic monitor should be
And hopefully the user would have an uncluttered desktop screen, not littered with icons of random documents and pictures. It should be clean or simply with folders that are used everyday - organized neatly. Everything that does not need to be accessed everyday should not be on your desktop screen.
Adjusting Height Of Ergonomic Monitor
What is the ideal height of your computer screen/monitor?
An ergonomic monitor's height should fit the user's horizontal's line of sight and preferred view area.
Monitor Ergonomics Solutions
Before you run out to buy a monitor labeled 'ergonomic', see if you can raise the screen by placing it on phone books.
If this can't be done, or proves to be unstable you can raise the screen by buying something called screen risers.
Another similar tool is called the Articulating Monitor Arms, another version of the ergonomic monitor stand which offers more adjustment options not only for height. It also has the ability to move the screen back and forth.
Click here for more info of the Articulating Monitor Arms. Mount-It! Single Arm Articulating Flat Panel Monitor Mount for 13-30"
Click here to view ergonomic monitor stands. 3M(TM) Easy Adjust Monitor Stand
The Use of Monitors in An Ergonomic Way
- Avoid scrolling through long lists of information.
- Use bold, italics and sub headings appropriately.
- Looking away from your screen to rest your eyes every 20 minutes
- Be aware of the direct and indirect of glare
The Issue of Glare In Monitor Ergonomics
Glare occurs when there is an imbalance of surface luminance within the visual field. It can be direct or indirect, either from a source, like a lamp, or bouncing off a glossy table or mirror.
Glare can be avoided through good design and well-thought out light installations.
A variety of light sources is better to soften glare. For example, we should not rely on one overhead lamp, or overhead lighting. Rather, it is better to obtain your light from a variety of sources.
How To Avoid Glare
Avoid these situations.
1) Working in a dim room with a very bright desk lamp.
2) Working on a desk with a direct view through a window to the sun or even the clouds. Soften the sunlight with blinds and curtains.
Summary of Ergonomic Monitors and Glare
1. Avoid glare through appropriate position of the monitor and workstation.
Reposition monitor's height on desk surface. Tilt monitor to achieve comfortable range for eyes, neck and head.
The distance of monitor to the eye should be at an arm's length.
2. You can also avoid glare by adapting the monitor.
- Introduce positive polarity,
- Introduce glare filters
- and assess impact on general viewing characteristics,
- Introduce flat screen
Optional Ergonomic Monitor Accessory
Computer monitor ergonomics also states that documents should not be placed on the surface of the desk and referred to when the individual is operating the keyboard.
That means, you shouldn't type from a document placed on your desk, it should be next to your monitor because you'll strain your neck.
Instead, use a document holder or copy stand to present the document at the same height and distance as screen.
Go back to Computer Ergonomics.