Work screens - does size matter?

Hi there! I have a question about working in front of computers.

I have a cute little Surface for work. Pre-covid, I traveled for my job so the compact size and portability was great. Now, I have a new role that is fully home-based and spend 4-6 hours a day on the computer. It’s a small screen, and I work a comfortable (but relatively short) arms’ length from it.

Obviously, my EM journey has me thinking about the details, so my question is… what’s more important: an appropriate blur challenge and the right differentials? Or getting as far away from that screen as possible? I’ve been dragging my feet on investing in a larger monitor (truthfully, I love the tiny Surface and never experience headache, double vision, or other symptoms of strain) but will definitely do so if it’ll help the eyeballs.

Thanks in advance!

-Kali

This is my personal preference only. I chose for myself to be as far as possible from the screen, as I work 7-8 hours every day with a computer in front of me. I keep at least 60 cm between my eyes and the screen. That means I have to adjust my differentials accordingly (stronger than the usual 1 to 1.25D difference from my normalized.
My choice is based on two reasons:

  1. good posture at all times, as I believe poor posture creates unnecessary strain on the eyes)

  2. peripheral vision. the closer I sit to a screen, the more lost I get in what is right in front of me, creating tunnel vision, and losing sight of my surroundings. I have learned the very hard way, after wearing almost five years of poor choice of lenses, what it means to not have good peripheral vision. Although I complained to my doctor at the time, she could find nothing wrong with my prescription, and blamed it on my eyes changing. The reality is that the Index # and the increase in astigmatism value she gave me was enough to create the type of lens where I could see only through the center of the lens, while the rest was a blurry mess. Without realizing, I mentally gave up on my peripheral vision, and chose to just look through the center with turning my head anytime I needed to see something on the sides. End result, 6 years after that initial problematic pair of lens, I got slapped with a potential glaucoma diagnosis, because I was missing some spots on the sides. .
    After 1.25 years of EM, my peripheral vision is back to normal, got rid of the astigmatism for the most part (I do get some transient astigmatism when my sphere value gets smaller, but it goes away fairly quickly).

The screen size I currently use is 24" (~63 cm)

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Hi Kali, I never had astigmatism before the lockdown and have always had 20/20 or better vision when tested. For the past year I’ve been using a laptop screen and going out much less than I used to. I can still read the 20/20 on a Snellen chart un-aided in good light but I’ve picked up some annoying astigmatism. I think I habitually keep the laptop screen on the right armrest of the one comfortable chair, which has me looking at it at a weird angle and just a bad ergonomic position. In fact my astigmatism seems to be worse in my left eye which is what you would expect if in fact my laptop use is causing the problems. If you’re not getting eye strain and you’re only on 4-6 hours total and getting 3+ hours a day of quality outdoor time or distance you’re probably all right with the small screen, but I would just make sure you’re not looking at it from a weird angle. My laptop is touch screen and I’m right handed and whenever the phone rings I end up moving the laptop over to the right…

If you can set up your work space the way you want and the screen position is good and you’re getting plenty of breaks etc you probably don’t need to get a big screen (but it’s not a crazy idea.)

I think the further away the better, so a larger screen would accomplish that. The standard distance for most people seems to be around the 60cm mark, or roughly an arms length. So if you’re at that distance and can read with a little blur challenge, and the text isn’t so small that your straining to read it, all good.

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Aha! This is super good to know. I finally invested in a larger monitor to help my eyes, and also to finally feel like an adult with an actual home ‘office’ :smirk: But because of the shallowness of my desk, I positioned the screen at a bit of an angle in the corner so that I could maintain an appropriate distance from it. I’m realizing from reading your response that I should make sure to angle myself accordingly, as well. This totally hadn’t occurred to me. I’ve never dealt with astigmatism either and certainly don’t want to add that to my journey right now. Thank you!

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