Is it harmful to my eyes to sit close to the TV?

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
I bet your mom told you that back in the day, right? Well, the truth is, it doesn’t harm your eyes to sit close to the TV.

The idea that it might came about from the old TVs that actually had cathode ray tubes emitting the light. At the time, it wasn’t known how that radiation could affect the eyes. But with the flatscreen TVs we use today, it’s not an issue, anyway.

However, you CAN get eyestrain from looking at any screen for too long. So it’s not so much about the distance you’re sitting from the screen, but about having your eyes focused on the same point for too long.

Also, one quick question is worth asking: If you have to sit so close to the TV to see it, why? You might need to have your vision checked, as that could be a sign of difficulty seeing distances.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Sitting too close to the TV is not harmful to the eyes, but watching too much TV can be harmful!
Every extra hour a week children spend watching TV or playing video games increases their chance of myopia (nearsightedness). On the other hand, playing outside seems to help and is another reason to pick outside play over video games or TV.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Sitting too close to the TV might be harmful to your eyes - want to know for sure?

Watch the video to find out from Dr. Oz if it is harmful to your eyes to sit close to the TV.

Contrary to popular myth, sitting too close to a TV will not damage your eyes, but it may cause eyestrain. Children can focus at close distance without eyestrain better than adults. Therefore, children often develop the habit of holding reading materials close to their eyes or sitting right in front of the TV. There is no evidence that this damages the eyes either in children or adults. With children, this habit usually diminishes as they grow older.

Continue Learning about Healthy Eye and Vision

5 Ways to Prevent Computer Eyestrain
5 Ways to Prevent Computer Eyestrain
Staring at a computer screen can cause headaches, back and neck pain, blurry vision and dry eyes. Watch Dr. Oz explain how to avoid these issues durin...
Read More
How can I relieve eyestrain?
If you use a computer, watch TV, or focus on any one thing for long stretches of time, there's a goo...
More Answers
How can I prevent eye problems?
Dr. Robin Miller, MDDr. Robin Miller, MD
An eye condition called macular degeneration has been found to be caused by a diet that is high in f...
More Answers
How Does the Big Data Concept Impact Ophthalmology?
How Does the Big Data Concept Impact Ophthalmology?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.