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New Findings: Generation Z Employees’ Greatest Work-Related Eye Health Challenges

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Digital eye strain due to long work hours and excessive screen time.

June 5, 2024

VSP Vision Care released new research, conducted by Workplace Intelligence, that reveals a concerning trend among Gen Z employees: 82 percent are working longer hours, including nights and weekends, and 54 percent say their eye health is worsening as a result.

The survey, which polled 800 human resource benefit leaders and 800 additional full-time employees at U.S. organizations, highlights how today’s workforce is increasingly struggling with too much screen time and symptoms consistent with digital eye strain.

The research also reveals that some employee groups, including younger generations and remote workers, are affected by these trends more than others.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Excessive screen time: On average, employees are getting over 96 hours of screen time a week, with more than a third of that time coming from work.
  • Long work hours: Sixty-nine percent of employees say they’ve worked longer hours over the past year, for example, nights and weekends. An alarming 43 percent report that their eye health is worsening as a result.
  • Generational impact: Eighty-two percent of Gen Z employees report working longer hours, and 54 percent say this has impacted their eye health.
  • Remote work considerations: Remote and hybrid workers get more than 7 hours of screen time each day, compared to just 5.5 hours for on-site employees.
  • Productivity loss: Fifty percent of workers have at least one eye issue, for example, blurred or poor vision, eye strain and fatigue, or dry and itchy eyes. Workers struggling with these issues report negative impacts on their productivity (63 percent), ability to focus (55 percent), and mental health (42 percent).

“In our increasingly digital world, it’s important for employers today to view vision benefits as part of a holistic approach to health and preventive health care plans for employees,” said VSP Vision Care President Kate Renwick-Espinosa. “Not only can an eye doctor detect signs of more than 270 health conditions during an eye exam, but they can also help employees who spend significant time on screens protect and maintain their ocular health.”

“With a growing number of employees working longer hours, our research indicates that screen time may be at an all-time high,” said Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner, Workplace Intelligence. “Employers have an opportunity to meet this moment for their employees, improve their organization’s productivity, and reduce healthcare costs by providing the support and benefits their people need to reduce digital eye strain.”

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