RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—Eighty percent of Americans say pandemic-prompted screen time put their eyes in "overdrive," according to the results of a new survey commissioned by VSP Vision Care. The nationally-representative survey of 1,500 general population consumers found that two-thirds of respondents report experiencing some degree of eye discomfort every day, and nearly a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than they did a year ago. Moreover, 90 percent of respondents believe it’s important to take care of their eyes, starting now.

Here are some additional findings, at a glance:

  • More than half of Americans defined a "digital detox" as a break from screen time.
  • Although around 65 percent report experiencing eye discomfort on a daily basis, half of Americans sometimes miss their annual exam or never go.
  • 4 in 5 are concerned about protecting their eyes coming out of the pandemic.
  • 58 percent of Americans were aware of the term "digital eye strain" prior to the survey.
  • 13 percent first learned the term "digital eye strain" during the pandemic.
  • Over half of Americans report looking at a computer most of the day, every day.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 experience some degree of eye discomfort on a daily basis.
  • Roughly 1 in 5 Americans prioritize paying regular visits to the eye doctor.
  • Some cite increased barriers to scheduling eye care appointments during the pandemic.
  • Over half would schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to relieve eye discomfort.
  • 80 percent would be willing to schedule routine computer breaks to relieve digital eye strain.

The survey also found that more than half of parents are worried about the effects of their children's increased screen time. Men are more likely than women to be worried about their children's eyes and, when it comes to Millennial dads, 6 in 10 are concerned about their children's vision due to increased screen time.
Additionally, the survey found that 60 percent of Americans report prioritizing a visit to their eye doctor out of a greater interest for their overall health. This is likely connected to a renewed sense of appreciation for health and total wellness of all kinds as Americans emerge from the pandemic, according to VSP.