NEW BUFFALO — Since 2011, The Pokagon Fund (TPF) has been committed to providing routine vision care for youth and seniors who reside in Southwestern Berrien County through its Vision Program.
The program is currently administered directly by TPF with Smoke Vision Care of New Buffalo providing the eye-care services. Since these two organizations began their partnership in December of 2018, 188 eligible residents have received no-cost routine vision examinations and/or prescription glasses through the program.
Vision changes can happen slowly and vision loss from an eye disease can go unnoticed until it is too late. This is true for youth and seniors alike; many people may assume the way they see is normal and do not realize they have vision problems. Routine eye exams from Smoke Vision Care are important to assess vision and learning-related issues as well as evaluate the health of the eye to detect and treat problems early, helping to preserve patients’ vision and healthy sight for life.
The program is available to eligible youth and seniors (defined for the purposes of this program as those who are 50 years of age or older) who reside in the 49115, 49116, 49117, 49125, 49128, and 49129 zip codes. Applications can be obtained by visiting Horizon Bank (in New Buffalo or Three Oaks) or The River Valley Senior Center; downloading one from TPF Vision Program webpage (www.PokagonFund.org/Vision Program); or by calling TPF offices at (269) 469-9322 and having one mailed.
“Participants consistently provide positive feedback about the impact of the Vision Program and the level of service they receive from Smoke Vision,” said Dan Petersen, Executive Director of The Pokagon Fund. “This is a wonderful program that gives youngsters a vital tool to be successful in their learning journeys and enhances the quality of life for area seniors that they may not otherwise be able to afford.”
“I am very thankful you have provided this [program],” said one participant said. “My vision was failing and I did not know how I was going to afford this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
More information on the program, including eligibility requirements, can be found at