RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Vision has announced the results of new research from a OnePoll survey that highlights concerning trends regarding eyestrain among American workers, particularly in the context of virtual meetings. The survey, which polled 2,000 employed Americans split by generation, indicates that respondents began to experience eye strain just 27 minutes into virtual meetings, shedding light on the long-term impacts of an increasingly digital workforce, including screen fatigue and eye health concerns. The survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of VSP Vision.

“In today’s digital world, it’s more important than ever to get your eyes checked annually,” said Dr. Jennifer Chinn, a second-generation optometrist at Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care in San Diego, Calif. “Beyond assessing the best ways to protect and treat your eyes from digital eyestrain, annual visits to the eye doctor are critical to assessing your overall eye health and potentially helping to identify other serious health conditions, such as diabetes.” 

The study reports several key findings:

Virtual Meeting Fatigue: A significant portion of respondents (71 percent) attend virtual meetings, with many experiencing symptoms of digital eyestrain such as blurry vision (38 percent), dry eyes (37 percent) and headaches (32 percent).

Eye Health Concerns: 40 percent of participants reported they feel their eye health has deteriorated over the last year, yet 31 percent haven’t had an eye exam in the last two years.

Screen Overload: The study indicates that typical workers interact with four different screens daily, leading to frequent occurrences of "screen fatigue," with 32 percent experiencing it at least daily and an additional 18 percent facing it multiple times a day.

Professional appearance: Respondents’ perception of professionalism during virtual meetings is impacted by attire, with 66 percent indicating they take those dressed professionally more seriously, and 49 percent indicating that glasses make someone appear more professional. Further, 32 percent agree that they consider people who wear glasses to be smarter than those who don’t, and 24 percent of Gen Z respondents reported wearing glasses as a fashion statement.

“Whether you wear glasses or not, excessive exposure to screens and the blue light they emit may contribute to digital eyestrain,” said Dr. Valerie Sheety-Pilon, VSP Vision vice president of clinical and medical affairs. “Eye health is more than taking frequent breaks while working on digital devices. It’s visiting an eye doctor regularly, practicing good visual hygiene, and wearing the right prescription eyewear that may include blue-light-reducing technology, if recommended by your eyecare provider.”

For more information on the study and tips for maintaining eye health in the virtual work era, click here.