Survey: Half of Americans consider themselves modern-day workaholics

Research shows that the average employee logs 7.5 hours of screen time daily, and battles eye pain or discomfort four times in that span.

NEW YORK — As the classic Todd Rundgren song goes, “I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day.” Yet for many of us, doing anything other than work is simply not an option. A new survey finds that about half of employed Americans (48 percent) consider themselves modern-day workaholics.

Perhaps that number should be higher: the survey of 2,000 employees showed the average American works four hours a week for free, and burns another four hours just thinking about their job. More than half (53 percent) were admittedly stressed out from work while completing the survey.

So what constitutes a workaholic? Researchers found that worrying about work on an off day, feeling too busy to take a vacation, and checking emails immediately after waking up (something 58 percent of the respondents say they do) were the top three symptoms of suffering from workaholism.

But nearly three in ten people (28 percent) say their job obsession is more than just a strong desire to succeed — it stems from financial necessity.

The survey, commissioned by The Vision Council, also showed just how much the modern workaholic is looking at a computer, phone, or other digital device. The average participant was found to log 7.5 hours of screen time daily, though 35 percent say they spend more than nine hours each day focused on a screen.

“The human eyes were not designed to look at digital devices – not to mention nearly as long as modern individuals do,” says Dr. Justin Bazan, practicing optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council, in a statement. “With Americans’ screen time hours nearing the double digits, and them spending their entire workdays – and more – on digital devices, it’s imperative that individuals take a serious look at the implications on the eyes, especially, as they’re the organs taking the brunt of all this screen time.”

It’s a warning everyone should heed. The survey showed that the average worker suffers from eye pain or discomfort four times a day, something that nearly four in five (78 percent) believe would happen less if they reduced their screen time.

The Vision Council says symptoms of digital eye strain can be even more frustrating. Sufferers deal with dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck/shoulder pain.

“The good news is there are eyewear solutions – glasses outfitted with traditional lenses with blue light and anti-reflective capabilities to combat blue light and glare, plus magnifications to help the eyes relax, as well as specialized contact lenses – available to help alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain. Visit an eyecare provider for an eye exam to find out more,” says Dr. Bazan.

The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll.