Screen Time Countries

Which nations spend the most time glued to their devices?

Nowadays, as the internet has become an integral part of the way we live, and smartphones and tablets have become everyday items, screen time has become an almost unavoidable part of our lives.

This past year of lockdowns and social distancing has only increased the amount of time that we spend online, but what is all this screen time doing to our eyes?

We wanted to find out how much time people spend looking at screens, and what effects it’s having on our eyesight. We’ve looked at data from countries across the world to see if there’s a link between screen time and vision loss.

Screen Time Around The World

The time we spend online makes up a large part of our total time spent looking at screens.

A recent report on global digital trends has identified which countries spend the most and least time online.

Japan spends the least time online of any country, on average just 4 hours and 25 minutes. This might seem like a lot but compared to the Philippines, where the average time spent online per day is a whopping 10 hours 56 minutes, Japan’s score seems pretty low.

Other countries that spend little time online include Denmark (05:16), China (5:22), and Germany (5:26). Countries that spend a large amount of time online also include Brazil (10:08), Colombia (10:07), and South Africa (10:06).

Vision Loss vs Online Screen Time

So, how does all of this screen time affect our eyesight?

Having gathered information on international online screen time, we were then able to compare it to data on vision loss in all of the mentioned countries. The results found that there is a clear correlation between more screen time and an increased rate of vision loss. As one increases, so does the other.

We also compared internet screen time with different types of vision loss, such as near-vision loss, blindness and differing severities of distance vision loss. The same correlation was present in each comparison, as rates of vision loss increased with more time spent online.

There are some outliers and exceptions on this list such as China, where few hours are spent online but rates of vision loss are high, and Argentina where the opposite is true. This suggests that while screen time has a tangible impact on our eyesight, it is only one of many factors that can damage our vision.

Key Rank Country Daily Internet Time Minutes Population with Any Vision Loss Population with Any Vision Loss (%)

Vision Loss vs Online Screen Time

Vision loss affects around 2.2 billion people all over the world, and there are almost 2 million people in the UK with some form of sight loss.

Problems with eyesight tend to be more common in older people and are also more prevalent in poorer countries. However, people of all ages and backgrounds can be affected by vision loss.

There are multiple causes of visual impairment, including conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Many outside factors can increase the risk of developing these conditions, and research has shown that visual impairment is much more prevalent in poorer parts of the world. Is screen time one of these factors?

Types of Vision Loss

Vision loss can be classified into two groups: Distance or Near Vision Impairment.


We used data from a 2020 study into blindness and vision impairment, part of the Global Burden of Disease Study, published by Lancet Global Health and accessed via the IAPB Vision Atlas. This data allowed us to identify rates of vision loss in different countries.

We also looked at data on the average time spent online in different countries, published by Datareportal in the Digital 2021:Global Overview Report.

We then compared the data on vision loss with the data on time spent online and looked for any trends or correlations.

The figures given for vision loss in each country are age-standardised rates of vision loss given as a percentage figure.


Bourne R, Steinmetz J, Flaxman S, et al., Trends in prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment over 30 years: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet Global Health. 2020. Accessed via the IAPB Vision Atlas ( - Screen Time Data

WHO - World Report on Vision

WHO - Blindness and Vision Impairment

Tips for reducing screen time: - Interesting Engineering

Good Housekeeping - How to Limit Screen Time - Protecting Your Eyes at Workfigure.