Eye strain from screen forces half of Americans to cancel plans, call out sick

Health

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — What would you do for perfect eyesight? More than one-third of Americans claim they would stay off the internet for a year for good vision.

A study of 2,001 people explores how they are preserving their eye health and finds that 36 percent would disconnect from all digital platforms for 20/20 vision. One in four say they would even take a swim with sharks.

According to nearly all respondents, scrolling through social media feeds, browsing the web and watching TV for extended periods of time has likely led to their digital eye strain, blurry vision, and other bodily discomforts (86%).

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by VSP Vision Care, the survey also found that 57 percent admit to powering through eye pain and discomfort to continue whatever activity they’re doing.

Eye strain sins

digital eye strain

Many Americans are guilty of maxing out the brightness of their smartphone displays (51%), sitting too close to the TV or computer screen (48%), and watching their favorite show in the dark (44%).

As a result, the average American ignores digital eye strain four times a week due to being too invested in the shows, games, or work that populates their screens. Four in five (79%) even have to force themselves to take screen breaks when the pain becomes intolerable.

The study illustrated how neglecting eye health has affected people’s social lives, as 47 percent admit they’ve even canceled plans due to eye discomfort. More than half the poll (54%) had to take the day off from work or school for the same reason.

The average person cancels their plans six times per year because of digital eye strain, though three in 10 respondents who have nixed work or school (29%) add it occurs more frequently than that.

“Our lifestyles have changed since the pandemic resulting in more vision issues. Which is why taking care of your eyes by enrolling in a vision benefits plan and going to an eye doctor every year is more important than ever,” says Kate Renwick-Espinosa, president of VSP Vision Care, in a statement.

Mind your peepers

digital eye strain

The act of appreciating our peepers goes further than just vision correction needs, as 65 percent rely on their eye doctor for things other than failing eyesight. In fact, nearly half the poll (48%) say vision insurance is important when considering benefits after starting a new job. Seven in 10 of these respondents with coverage selected it to have affordable access to preventative care, and 48 percent got it for their peace of mind.

Only about half of Americans visit their eye doctor at least once per year (48%). Meanwhile, roughly one in eight (12%) have never been to the eye doctor before in their life. Additionally, almost the same number of respondents (13%) say they currently don’t wear glasses or contacts but need them due to their blurry vision.

“Don’t overlook the importance of vision benefits this year. In addition to keeping your eyes healthy, a comprehensive eye exam can help detect serious health conditions, like diabetes. Open enrollment is a perfect time to check the box on vision care benefits for your eyes and overall health,” adds Kate Renwick-Espinosa, president of VSP Vision Care.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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