- It has been claimed that sitting too close to a screen or television can make a difference in eye health.
- We looked for studies to find out whether or not sitting too close to a screen or television affects eye health.
- We found one systematic review on the causes of eye strain from using a computer.
This kind of eye strain is called computer vision syndrome (CVS)
- In this systematic review, a summary of the results of 4 studies showed that being close to a screen increases the risk of CVS.
- We also found three cross-sectional studies, where information is collected through surveys. However, cross-sectional studies cannot prove that something caused something else.
- The first study was conducted in 2022 among teachers in Saudi Arabia, and reported that there was no difference between those who kept further away from the screen compared with those who were closer.
- The second study was conducted in 2021 among computer workers in Egypt, and reported that being 20 inches or closer from the computer was associated with eye strain.
- The third study was conducted in 2017 among school-age children in Ethiopia, and reported that there is an association between being close to the TV screen (2m or less) was associated with visual impairment.
- Overall, two available studies reported an association between sitting too close to a computer screen or television and poor eye health.
Guidelines and recommendations
- We searched several national and international organisations including WHO, CDC, ECDC, HSE, and HSPCfor related guidelines and recommendations.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that sitting and looking at screens for long periods of time is not good for our health. Examples of these screen activities include watching television or videos, playing computer games, etc.
- The Health Service Executive suggested to their staff to position the screen at least 20-30 inches (51-76 centimetres) from the face (at arm’s length) to reduce eye strain.