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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 1998 Dec;13(8):584-592.

The effect of imposed and self-selected computer monitor height on posture and gaze angle.

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The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



The objectives were to determine the postural consequences of varying computer monitor height and to describe self-selected monitor heights and postures.


The design involved experimental manipulation of computer monitor height, description of self-selected heights, and measurement of posture and gaze angles.


Disagreement exists with regard to the appropriate height of computer monitors. It is known that users alter both head orientation and gaze angle in response to changes in monitor height; however the relative contribution of atlanto-occipital and cervical flexion to the change in head rotation is unknown. No information is available with regard to self-selected monitor heights.


Twelve students performed a tracking task with the monitor placed at three different heights. The subjects then completed eight trials in which monitor height was first self-selected. Sagittal postural and gaze angle data were determined by digitizing markers defining a two-dimensional three-link model of the trunk, cervical spine and head.


The 27 degrees change in monitor height imposed was, on average, accommodated by 18 degrees of head inclination and a 9 degrees change in gaze angle relative to the head. The change in head inclination was achieved by a 6 degrees change in trunk inclination, a 4 degrees change in cervical flexion, and a 7 degrees change in atlanto-occipital flexion. The self-selected height varied depending on the initial monitor height and inclination.


Self-selected monitor heights were lower than current 'eye-level' recommendations. Lower monitor heights are likely to reduce both visual and musculoskeletal discomfort.


Musculoskeletal and visual discomfort may be reduced by placing computer monitors lower than currently recommended.


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