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May 10, 2011 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Am I destroying my vision by surfing the web on my TV?

I have a 55" TV that I sit about maybe 12 feet away from. It's hooked to an HTPC, so I've done a lot of web surfing on it over the past year. I have the font size cranked up on my OS and browser, so that's not much of an issue. Anyway, over the last few months, I've noticed my vision deteriorating a bit -- words on signs that are further away (25 or more, say) are harder to read now. I do work with computers and spend a lot of the day staring at a screen, but this was never a problem before -- in fact, I've always had really good vision.

So what's the deal? Am I screwing up my vision by surfing the web on my TV? Is this reversible? Or am I just getting old?
posted by Sloop John B to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
 
(25 feet or more, say)
posted by Sloop John B at 10:55 AM on May 10, 2011


How old are you? My nearsightedness did not kick in until I was in college and it started exactly as you described. In my case it had nothing to do with web surfing or any other computer activities because I did not own or work with computers in the mid 80s. On the other hand now that I am in my late 40s it is things too close that are getting hard to see.
posted by TedW at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2011


over the last few months, I've noticed my vision deteriorating a bit -- words on signs that are further away (25 or more, say) are harder to read now.

I would be making an immediate appointment with an eye doctor if I was experiencing this.
posted by archivist at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2011


This sounds like a variation on the 'am i sitting to close to the tv' question. In general, myopia is caused not by eyestrain (which you may in fact be doing when you look at a screen so far a way) but by genetic factors. From my understanding the worst you can do is temporarily impair your vision but that should return to normal if you rest your eyes for a while.

But if this is something you're noticing even after you've rested your eyes for a while its probably time for an eye checkup, but I wouldn't worry about eyestrain causing myopia.
posted by jourman2 at 11:02 AM on May 10, 2011


Actually, as jourman2 notes, sitting too far away from the screen is what causes problems, such as eye-strain. As it happens, you are are sitting at almost exactly the most commonly recommended viewing distance of 2.5 times the diagonal of the display. For a 55" screen, this translates to 11.45 feet. The SMPTE and THX recommendations are, in fact, closer still. THX specifications for 60 " screen, as an example, are between 6-9 feet. Your eye problems have nothing to do with your display distance. Get your eyes checked.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:19 PM on May 10, 2011


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