TV Viewing Distance: Effects, Where to Sit, Eye Health (2023)

Viewing Distances for High Definition Televisions
Television SizeApproximate Viewing Distance Range
32 inch1.2 meters (3.94 feet)
40 inch1.5 meters (4.92 feet)
43 inch1.7 meters (5.57 feet)
50 inch1.9 meters (6.23 feet)
60 inch2.3 meters (7.55 feet)

Why Do Screens Cause Eye Strain?

Eye strain, orasthenopia,is aneyecondition that causes a variety of symptoms, includingfatigue, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, and occasionaldouble vision.

Symptoms can occur after watching television at a close distance, reading, doing computer work, or performing any close activities that usethe eyes. Attempting to focus on a close object for an extended period of time causes the ciliary muscle to tighten, producing the symptoms of eye strain.Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Sore, irritated eyes
  • Trouble focusing
  • Dry or watery eyes

Eye strain can also occurbecause people tend to blink less while watching television or working on tedious projects.

The average person blinks around 18 times a minute, naturally refreshing and lubricating the eye. But some studies have shown that people may only blink half as often (or less) while looking at a television or computer screen. Blinking so seldom often results in dry, tired,itchy, and burning eyes.

Besides sitting too close, watching too much television, especially in the dark, can cause eye strain due to constant focusing on a small, bright object. The dark room causes the irises of the eyes to open wider in order to let in more light, but they fail to close as much as they should to focus on the bright screen.

Eye Pain: Causes, Treatment, and When to See a Healthcare Provider


Eye doctors recommend a simple technique for preventing eye strain. If you are staring at a screen for an extended time, shift your focus from near to far. For example, if you usually stay 10 feet from a screen, move at least 20 feet away. You can also take periodic breaks from looking at a screen.

How to Relieve Eye Strain

If you experience the symptoms of eye strain after watching television or looking at your smart device, here are a few things you can do to help alleviate your discomfort.

  • Gently massage the eyes
  • Apply a warm cloth to the eye area
  • Get enough sleep at night to allow your eyes time to recuperate
  • Invest in a bigger television to reduce eye strain from focusing
  • Do not forget to blink to prevent your eyes from drying out

8 Ways to Reduce Eye Strain While Working From Home

Dry Eye Syndrome

Besides eye strain, a common eye condition resulting from television or computer screen viewing isdry eye syndrome. With this condition, a person does not have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.

Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the eye's front surface and for providing clear vision. Staring at a screen for long periods of time can dry out the eyes. Dry eye syndrome is often treated by frequently instilling quality eye drops and other therapies.

Rules for Other Devices

It seems that many kids today tend to watch content or play video games on their iPads and smartphones more than they watch television. Should parents monitor how close their kids hold their screens away from their eyes?

Most eye care professionals agree that tablets, phones, and laptops are harmless to eye health and vision. However, these devices can cause eye strain, much like watching a television. Symptoms can develop due to focusing on a much smaller screen at a very close distance to your eyes.

Make sure that your child holds their screen about arm’s length (18 to 24 inches) away from their eyes. Your child should view the screen at the level of their eyes or slightly below them. Handheld digital devices such as smartphones should be held below eye level.

If your child seems to have difficulty holding their devices at this distance, enlarging the text on the screen may help. Adjusting text size can sometimes make viewing more comfortable. Also, to help prevent eye strain from occurring,encourage your kids to take frequent breaks from the screen to give their eyes a rest from focusing.

(Video) How Close is TOO Close?

Easy Solutions for Screen-Related Eye Issues


Due to the advancements of modern television screens, watching TV up close will not injure your eyes. However, watching TV from a close distance may lead to eye strain or fatigue. It is generally recommended to be at least five times the distance from the screen as the screen is wide.

A Word From Verywell

If you tend to experience eye strain or eye fatiguefrequently, consider asking your eye doctor for advice. Your eye doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye examination to identify possible underlying causes of eye strainand offer ways to alleviate it.

Also, know that viewing distance preferences can vary from person to person, and symptoms of eye strain or eye fatigue may improve with a few adjustments. You may find that sitting a bit further than usual from your television, getting a more high-quality television, or adjusting the display settings may be easier on your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do TVs emit blue light?

    Yes, TVs emit blue light. Contrary to popular belief, you will not get eye damage from exposure to blue light emitted by devices like your phone, tablet, and TV. However, it is still a good idea to be mindful of how much screen-time you get, especially before bed. Late-night watching on blue light screens can make falling asleep more difficult.

  • Why is my child blinking a lot when watching TV?

    If your child is blinking a lot when watching TV, it might be a habitual tic. Blinking is a common and harmless tic for many children. Repetitive behaviors like this often go away after some time. Otherwise, blinking a lot when watching TV could be a sign that they need glasses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. If you are concerned about the blinking, let your child's healthcare provider know so they can examine the behavior first-hand.

  • Should people who wear glasses take extra precautions watching TV?

    People who wear glasses may want to be sure to wear their glasses when watching TV. Their glasses might help them see the TV screen better, which helps reduce the possibility of eye strain and avoid having to focus too hard to see.

    (Video) TV Size Vs Viewing Distance and how it affects you. (2022 updated guidelines)
  • Is it bad for children to watch a lot of TV?

    While watching a lot of TV will not cause eye damage in children, too much of TV-watching may lead to eye fatigue or eye strain. Studies also suggest that children who spend more than four hours per day watching TV or using media are more likely to be overweight.

10 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Food and Drug Administration. Television Radiation.

    (Video) How Far Should You Sit From Your Screen?

  2. Sheppard AL, Wolffsohn JS. Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration.BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2018;3(1):e000146. doi:10.1136/bmjophth-2018-000146

  3. Sony. What Is the Recommended Viewing Distance for Televisions?

  4. John Hopkins Medicine. Eyestrain.

  5. Read JC, Bohr I. User experience while viewing stereoscopic 3D television.Ergonomics. 2014;57(8):1140–1153. doi:10.1080/00140139.2014.914581

  6. Messmer EM. The pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of dry eye disease.Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2015;112(5):71–82. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2015.0071

  7. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Screen Use for Kids.

  8. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Should You Be Worried About Blue Light?

  9. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Excessive Blinking in Children.

  10. Nemours Children's Health. How Media Use Can Affect Kids.

Additional Reading

TV Viewing Distance: Effects, Where to Sit, Eye Health (1)

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.

See Our Editorial Process

Meet Our Medical Expert Board

Share Feedback

(Video) Best TV size and viewing distance


Where should your eyes be when watching TV? ›

Keep the TV at eye level or lower to prevent your vertical eye muscles from getting too tired.

Does sitting next to TV damage your eyes? ›

Although you've probably heard that sitting too close to a TV can damage your eyes, this isn't based in science or reality. The truth is, you can sit close to the TV without any permanent eye damage. Sitting close to the TV isn't dangerous to your health or your vision.

How far away should you sit from a TV? ›

If your TV is a traditional 1080p HDTV unit, the TV size distance ratio is between around 1.5 and 2.5 times the diagonal width of the screen. This means that if you have: A 40'' TV– You should sit between 5 and 8.5 feet away from the screen. A 43'' TV– You should sit between 5.5 and 9 feet away from the screen.

How far should you sit from a 65 TV? ›

Choose your TV type for the recommended viewing distance
TV sizeViewing distance range (approx.)
49 inch39 inches (3.28 feet)
55 inch39 inches (3.28 feet)
65 inch47 inches (3.94 feet)
75 inch55 inches (4.59 feet)
2 more rows
28 Jun 2021

How do I make my TV not hurt my eyes? ›

Sit closer or further away from the screen. Lower the backlight or brightness on the television set. Do not view the TV in a dark room in which the TV is the only light source. Adjust feature settings such as Auto Motion Plus, 3D, Dynamic Contrast, etc.

Does sitting too close to the TV cause nearsightedness? ›

No. Sitting too close to the TV or a computer screen is unlikely to cause myopia, also commonly known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness. It can, however, cause temporary eye strain in your child . Symptoms of eye strain include a headache, blurred vision and a feeling of dryness in the eyes.

How do you keep your eyes healthy as you age? ›

Tips for healthy eyes at any age
  • Protect your eyes from sunlight by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a hat with a wide brim when you are outside.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Make smart food choices.
  • Be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
13 Oct 2022

How far should you sit from a 75 inch TV? ›

Recommended viewing distance for your TV

To get this suitable distance, multiply the screen size by 1.2. So for a 75 inch TV, that means sitting 90 inches, or 2.3 meters away.

How long should a TV be on a day? ›

Watching less TV leaves more time to be physically active.

One way we can do this, according to new research, is to cut back on our time watching TV. In fact, researchers say cutting back to 2 hours a day may be a good way to prevent poor health.

Can big TV hurt your eyes? ›

The answer is a little unclear. While most experts agree that watching too much TV probably won't cause permanent damage, there are some issues that can develop from staring at a digital screen for long periods of time. Digital eye strain is a temporary but potentially harmful result of staring too long at a screen.

What is the best distance to watch 55 inch TV? ›

For High Definition models
TV SizeViewing Distance Range (Approx.)
46 inch1.7 meters / 5.57 feet
49 inch1.9 meters / 6.23 feet
50 inch1.9 meters / 6.23 feet
55 inch2.1 meters / 6.89 feet
6 more rows
28 Jun 2021

What is the best viewing distance for a 65 inch 4K TV? ›

Recommended distance for viewing 4K TV is 1.5 times of the TV vertical screen size.
For 4K models.
TV SizeViewing Distance Range (Approx.)
55 inch1 meter / 3.28 feet
65 inch1.2 meters / 3.94 feet
75 inch1.4 meters / 4.60 feet
85 inch1.6 meters / 5.25 feet
2 more rows
28 Jun 2021

Why can you sit closer to a 4K TV? ›

Why is that? 4K TV offers four times the resolution of a typical High-Definition TV. But to really appreciate the extra pixels on screen, you need to sit closer to the screen than you normally would. Otherwise, you may not see some of the details that are visible in 4K but may not be displayed in the high-def picture.

What size TV do I need for 10 feet away? ›

While it all boils down to personal preference, there is a simple formula that works as a size calculator that provides a good starting point: Viewing distance (in inches)/2 = recommended TV size. For example, if you usually sit 10 feet from the TV, that's 120 inches (10 feet x 12 inches).

How do you rest your eyes? ›

Try to make it a habit to blink more often when looking at a monitor. Take eye breaks. Throughout the day, give your eyes a break by looking away from your monitor. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

What glasses do I need for watching TV? ›

TV Glasses

Just as many of us have reading glasses, television glasses can improve vision. Ask your optician's advice if you have prescription lenses – they may recommend wearing your glasses for watching television, especially if you wear your glasses for distance tasks.

Is TV supposed to be eye level? ›

Generally speaking, you want the center of the TV to be about eye level, or even slightly lower. This is true whether you're mounting the TV or putting it on a stand.

Should you watch TV eye level? ›

For comfortable viewing, the middle of your TV screen when located in your entertainment unit should be at eye level or slightly below. This means that you'll have to calculate eye level (with a tape measure) by sitting on your sofa or recliner.

Is it better to watch TV with the lights on or off? ›

Watching TV in the dark should be avoided – trust us, you'll be able to watch your favourite festive films for longer! When the room is dark your pupils dilate, allowing light to penetrate your eyes more easily, causing pain and eye strain due to glare.

How far should I sit from my 43 inch TV? ›

For High Definition models
TV SizeViewing Distance Range (Approx.)
32 inch1.2 meters / 3.94 feet
40 inch1.5 meters / 4.92 feet
43 inch1.7 meters / 5.57 feet
46 inch1.7 meters / 5.57 feet
6 more rows
28 Jun 2021


1. The Best TV For Your Eyes! The Best TV Picture Settings For Your Eyes! LED vs OLED vs QLED
2. Does Viewing Distance Affect Blue Light Intensity?
(VSP Optics Group)
3. Your smartphone is blinding you, here's what to do.
(Unbox Therapy)
4. Too much screen time may be damaging kids' eyesight
(CBC News)
5. How to Check Your Patient's Visual Acuity
6. BEST Screens For Your Eyes? | Endmyopia | Jake Steiner
(Jake Steiner)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 07/05/2023

Views: 6663

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.