Regardless of how much savings you’ve accumulated for retirement, unexpected health issues can throw a massive spanner in the works. According to USA Today, medical expenses are one of the biggest financial burdens faced by retirees, with the average American couple spending $260,000 (roughly one-third of their savings) on healthcare over the course of their retirement. And that doesn’t include long-term care costs, which can add an extra $130,000 to the bill.

One of the dearest healthcare costs for retirees is vision care. However, by taking the time to see an optometrist before retirement, you may be able to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Here’s why you should see an optometrist before you retire.

The risk for Eye Disease Increases with Age

Now that you’re approaching your retirement years, you’ve likely noticed changes in your eyesight. You may have trouble seeing things up close, or difficulty reading signs from afar. Some of these changes are a normal part of aging, but others are signs of a serious underlying condition that could be prevented by seeing an optometrist, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic eye disease. The risk for developing these eye-related conditions and diseases increases with age, which means even if your eyesight is fine today, chances are it won’t be in a few years. And unfortunately, vision impairment has the potential to prevent you from enjoying an active lifestyle and maintaining your independence in your retirement.

Medicare Does Not Cover Eye Exams

When it comes to your vision, early detection is the best protection. Unfortunately, if you don’t detect vision deficiencies in their early stages, the untreated condition progresses at a faster rate, ultimately leading to poorer eye health and higher out-of-pocket costs in the future.

So before you leave your employer-provided health insurance behind, make sure you get a comprehensive dilated vision exam. Remember, vision screenings provided by your general doctor are not sufficient. These screens only indicate the need for further testing with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. A trained eye specialist will be able to conduct a diagnostic eye exam to determine whether any vision problems you’re experiencing are due to regular age-related changes or an underlying problem. Even if you have no symptoms, it’s a smart idea to see an eye specialist as some of the most common eye diseases have no early warning signs but can still be detected with a comprehensive dilated vision exam and appropriately treated to delay any further damage.

Medicare Does Not Cover Eye Glasses

Despite the fact most Americans over the age of 65 need eyeglasses, Medicare also doesn’t cover the cost of eyeglasses. If you can see an optometrist while you still have employer-provided health insurance, you could save a great deal on your specs.

Reducing Your Vision Care Costs

We all want to maintain sharp vision well into our golden years. However, without adequate vision care, perfect eyesight isn’t a likely outcome for many of us. Although, by seeing an optometrist before you retire, you can not only improve your eye health but also reduce future vision care costs.