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The impact of unmanaged excessive screen time in the United States

Over 104 million working age Americans spend more than seven hours daily viewing digital screens, leading to health consequences including digital eye strain (DES). When these symptoms are unmanaged, they cost an estimated $151 billion to the U.S. economy in 2023.

With screen time levels rising, there is an increased risk of device-related eye issues like myopia, or nearsightedness, and digital eye strain that can have an impact on an individual’s wellbeing and productivity. As little as two hours of screen exposure per day can induce digital eye strain symptoms which can cause discomfort and take a toll on an individual’s quality of life. To understand the quantifiable impact of unmanaged screen time, the report revealed that more than 104 million working age Americans spend more than seven hours of their day in front of screens, which resulted in an estimated $151 billion in health system, productivity, and wellbeing costs in 2023.

The report also found: 

  • Almost 70% of individuals working in offices jobs are exposed to excessive screen time compared to 42% of individuals in other professions.
  • 31.8 million people, or 31% of the population surveyed, exposed to excessive screen time did not see an optometrist in the last 12 months. Over half of this group (55%) reported the presence of vision-related symptoms that may be improved or resolved from regular visits to the optometrist.
  • If the average American who is exposed to excessive screen time visited an optometrist once per year, it is estimated that there could be an annual gain of up to $45.5 billion in productivity, and up to $26.3 billion in wellbeing improvements.

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