Home News New Report Reveals Cost of Unmanaged Screen Time Symptoms: $151 Billion Per...

New Report Reveals Cost of Unmanaged Screen Time Symptoms: $151 Billion Per Year

cover of the study on screen time showing blue/green iris and large black pupil
Download the report here.

The American Optometric Association (AOA), in conjunction with the Deloitte Economics Institute released a report, The impact of unmanaged excessive screen time in the United States1, to understand the implications of unmanaged screen time in the U.S. and how doctors of optometry can play an essential role in preventing further costs through annual comprehensive exams.

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 well-being 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 well-being costs in 2023.


  •  Almost 70% of individuals working in office 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 well-being improvements.

“It’s impossible to ignore the impact that digital devices have had on our daily lives, particularly in the workplace.” shared Deloitte Economics Institute Partner Simone Cheung, who led the report. “Through our study with AOA, we were able to quantify the cost of unmanaged screen time and gain insight into the impact on not only Americans’ health, but employers and the overall health system.”


thumbnail of the eye health guidance in the workplace study guide
Download the companion guide here.

To bridge this gap and help Americans prioritize their eye health in the workplace, the AOA developed Eye Health Guidance in the Workplace – A User Guide Study Companion, a valuable resource for individuals and employers to learn and share healthy screen time habits and how to protect your eyes while working on screens.

“Up until now, we could see in our practices anecdotally that America’s excessive screen time-use had very real consequences for eye health,” said AOA President, Ronald L. Benner, OD. “Through this report, we have even more data showing that not visiting a doctor of optometry can have notable cost implications and potentially reduce quality of life. These findings further underscore the importance of better screen time habits and receiving annual, in-person comprehensive eye exams with an AOA doctor of optometry to maintain your eye and overall health.”

AOA infographic - thumbnail that shows it includes cost facts and figures
The AOA developed this infographic. Download it here.

This report was developed as part of Eye Deserve More, AOA’s national public awareness campaign, which takes a stand that every American deserves in-person comprehensive eye care from a doctor of optometry as part of their eye health and overall well-being. The campaign includes a suite of educational resources, including Blink Land, a mobile game that teaches users about prioritizing your eye health while on screens through minigames and trivia. The game is available for download on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Visit AOA.org to learn more about the report’s findings, download the Eye Health Guidance in the Workplace guide and book an appointment with a local AOA doctor of optometry.

1. Deloitte Access Economics. January 2024. The impact of unmanaged excessive screen time in the United States

Featured image shows a portion of the AOA infographic.

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