– Centers for Disease Control
Meet Our Doctors
Our talented team of highly trained doctors are absolutely committed to providing the highest standard of eyecare available. From protecting the health of your eyes, to ensuring the best vision possible, our doctors deliver the care you and your eyes deserve.
Joseph Aschenbrenner, O.D.
About Dr. Aschenbrenner
In practice since 1985, Dr. Aschenbrenner has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bausch and Lomb Contact Lens Outstanding Achievement Award and the Syntax Contact Lens Award.
Dr. Aschenbrenner enjoys the challenge of designing lenses for patients with unique and complex prescriptions. In addition, he provides laser refractive care, low vision care, pre- and post-operative surgical care, treatment of ocular disease care and myopia control. He is dedicated to offering his patients the best possible vision care and does so by staying current with today’s technological advancements in the optometry field.
Outside of the office, Dr. Aschenbrenner volunteers his time locally through the Barrington Lions Club, and internationally as a longtime member of VOSH, by providing eyecare services, exams, and glasses to patients in need.
Lisa Kowar, O.D.
About Dr. Kowar
With decades of experience, Dr. Kowar focuses on caring for the visual and eye health needs of her patients across all age ranges. In addition to comprehensive eye health exams, Dr. Kowar also provides pre- and post-operative care for patients with cataracts and refractive surgery procedures. In addition, Dr. Kowar is certified in the treatment of myopia.
Dr. Kowar enjoys solving her patients’ individual vision-related issues as well as providing additional expertise in the areas of specialty contact lens fittings and visual rehabilitation.
Toshio Nakajima, O.D.
About Dr. Nakajima
After graduation from Indiana University, Dr. Nakajima returned to Japan to teach clinical optometry and optics. After one year, he returned to practice full-scope optometry in the United States. He and Dr. Penner opened Elgin Family Eye Care in 1989. For over 30 years, he has been seeing patients and managing the day-to-day operations of the practice.
Dr. Nakajima is a decades-long member of the American Optometric Association and the Illinois Optometric Association. In his free time, Dr. Nakajima enjoys spending time with his children as well as jogging, tennis, and computer programming.
Michael Kennedy, O.D.
About Dr. Kennedy
During his optometric training, he served as a class representative and Executive President of Student Council, and had the honor of being named to the Gold Key Optometric honor society. At Ohio State, he was named Student Leader of the Year, Junior of the Year, and Senior of the Year. At his graduation commencement, he had the honor of receiving the Lyle A. Gassmann Memorial Award.
Prior to joining Elgin Family Eye Care in 2008, Dr. Kennedy gained invaluable experience working for years as an optometric technician in Naperville, IL as well as during optometry school in Columbus, OH. Dr. Kennedy is an active member of both the American Optometric Association and Illinois Optometric Association. He is an alumnus of the Epsilon Psi Epsilon optometric fraternity.
Dr Kennedy practices full-scope optometry, but has a particular interest in contact lenses and eye disease, especially dry eye and corneal disease. He also manages glaucoma, keratoconus, and retinal disease. He takes pride in spending time with his patients, so that together they can find successful treatment options that may not have been considered in the past. Dr Kennedy enjoys making personal connections with his patients and watching families grow year after year.
Andrew J. Brauer, O.D.
About Dr. Brauer
One of Dr. Brauer’s core practice beliefs is that way too many people put up with lackluster vision or comfort in their contact lenses (or worse, drop out altogether) because they have come to think these problems are normal and unavoidable. With the right tools and the right expertise, virtually anyone can experience clear, comfortable vision in contact lenses.
Another of Dr. Brauer’s fundamental values is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this more applicable than myopia control. Myopia control is one of the most powerful preventative treatments in eye care, in which specialized lenses or eye drop medications are prescribed to slow or stop the eyes from getting worse. In contrast to the “old way” of simply getting thicker and thicker glasses each year as the eyes get worse and worse, myopia control is a childhood preventative treatment that provides dramatically better vision (with and without glasses), reduces risk of many blinding eye diseases, and improves quality of life relating to vision- all benefits that literally last a lifetime, even after their myopia control treatment is over!
Susan M. Penner, O.D.
About Dr. Penner
Dr. Penner entered private practice in Mt. Morris in 1987. She and Dr. Nakajima established Elgin Family Eye Care in 1989. In September of 2007, Dr. Penner opened EyeCare Dimensions in Byron, and in June of 2010, the Mt. Morris office merged with EyeCare Dimensions.
Dr. Penner is intimately involved in the management of Elgin Family Eye Care, but sees patients on a daily basis at EyeCare Dimensions in Byron, IL. For more information about that office, go to eyecaredimensions.com.
Outside the office, Dr. Penner is an accomplished keyboard musician, and enjoys theater and her 4 kids Marisa, Erik, Anna, and Naomi.
Randall D. Kittle, O.D.
Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center
About Dr. Kittle
Dr. Kittle did his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa, and entered Illinois College of Optometry to pursue his medical training as one of only five early enrollment candidates. There, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Science in 1980 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1981.
Dr. Kittle resides in Rockford with his wife, Gini, and their son, Benjamin. Doctor Kittle especially enjoys children’s vision and advanced contact lens design, and cares for patients from birth through adulthood. He focuses on primary eye care including the prescribing of eyeglasses and contacts, and the diagnosis and management of eye disease.
Will A. Watson, O.D.
Primary Eye Care Center Edgebrook | Crystal Lake
About Dr. Watson
Doctor Watson cares for patients from birth through adulthood. He focuses on primary eye care including the prescribing of eyeglasses and contacts and the diagnosis and management of eye disease.
Richard E. Anderson, O.D.
Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center
About Dr. Anderson
Dr. Anderson is very active in his church and Men’s Community Bible Study. Dr. Anderson joined Primary Eye Care Centers in March of 2014. His favorite part of practicing Optometry is helping people see life clearly.
Dr. Anderson and his wife, Ann, live in Rockford and have two children and 3 grandchildren. Dr. Anderson enjoys sports and spending time with his family.
Erika K. Cleland, O.D.
About Dr. Cleland
Dr. Cleland discovered her interest in visual science at Indiana University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Wanting to incorporate this knowledge with her passion to help people, she pursued her medical training at the Illinois College of Optometry
She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Doctor of Optometry degree in 2011. She holds certification on competency-based examination in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease from THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOARDS OF EXAMINERS IN OPTOMETRY.
Dr. Cleland provides primary eye care for patients from birth to adulthood. Her professional interests include specialty contact lens design for keratoconic patients and the diagnosis and management of eye disease, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. She also enjoys helping individuals with dry eye and ocular allergies.
Dr. Cleland lives in McHenry with her husband Justin, her daughter, and her dog Emma.
Roger H. Hill, O.D.
About Dr. Hill
Dr. Hill joined Primary Eye Care Centers in March of 2014. Dr. Hill enjoys being able to help people, and to help people see in a painless process. Dr. Hill and his wife, Pam, have four children. He and his family live in Rockton, IL. Some of Dr. Hill’s interests include, camping, boating, water skiing, and spending time with his family.
Praksha Butala, O.D.
About Dr. Butala
Praksha Butala, O.D. received her Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Butala’s love for helping people of all ages led her to become an optometrist where she makes an impact on her patients by helping them see better. Dr. Butala especially loves educating her patients on how systemic conditions can affect their ocular health and seeing their reactions when they get their first pair of glasses or contact lenses.
When Dr. Butala isn’t caring for patients, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, exploring new restaurants, cooking, and baking.
Arpit Patel, O.D.
About Dr. Patel
Arpit Patel, O.D. received his Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
Dr. Patel specializes in ocular disease, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and vascular disease. He believes our sense of sight is a valuable part of life and that it is rewarding to help others achieve clear, comfortable vision. Dr. Patel enjoys working with medical professionals to provide quality healthcare to the community.
When Dr. Patel is not treating patients, he enjoys hiking, film, photography, and attending live music events
Shrey Patel, O.D.
About Dr. Patel
Dr. Patel completed his residency in the management of ocular diseases and urgent care at Northern Indiana Health Care System (VA Hospital) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
When Dr. Patel is not treating patients, he enjoys sports and music.
Sung Kim, O.D.
About Dr. Kim
Dr. Kim’s clinical externship was at the University of Chicago Ophthalmology Department, Battle Creek VA Ophthalmology Department, and Vision Care Specialists (CIBA Vision). She is a board-certified optometrist specializing in the areas of ocular disease treatment, specialty contact lens fitting, pediatric eye care, orthokeratology, and color vision correction.
Dr. Kim has a passion for collaborating with patients and helping them to see better. She offers comprehensive LASIK consultation and co-manages after LASIK procedures. Dr. Kim will offer the highest quality eye care with the state-of-the art latest technology to evaluate patients’ eyes.
When she is not treating patients, Dr. Kim enjoys traveling and spending time with her three children, friends, and her husband.
Niki Mehta, O.D.
About Dr. Mehta
Upon graduating, Dr. Mehta completed clinical rotations at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and William Feinbloom Center for low vision. Dr. Mehta practices comprehensive eye care, with an emphasis on contact lens fittings, management of ocular surface diseases, and dry eye management.
Dr. Mehta loves building relationships with her patients to be able to treat their daily visual needs. Dr. Mehta’s goal as an Optometrist is to educate her patients on how complex the visual system is and how it goes far beyond the need for glasses and contacts.
When Dr. Mehta isn’t caring for patients, she enjoys spending time with her family and spoiling her dog.
Lisha Patel, O.D.
About Dr. Lisha Patel
Dr. Patel specializes in contact lenses and says that what inspired her to become an optometrist was that she had some optometrists in her family and she became interested in the field at a very young age. She enjoys the patient interaction and being able to help people see and make a difference in their quality of life.
When she is not treating patients, Dr. Patel enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors with her husband.
Charlene Morfoot, O.D.
About Dr. Morfoot
Charlene Morfoot, O.D. received her Doctor of Optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry where she received honors in her clinical rotations. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Finally, she completed a year of post-graduate training in ocular disease at Omni Eye Services in New Jersey and New York.
While performing thorough comprehensive eye examinations, Dr. Morfoot focuses on the diagnosis and management of eye disease. Her professional interests include fitting specialty contact lenses, glaucoma and surgical co-management. She particularly enjoys teaching her patients about the newest innovations in contact lens technology.
Since she was a young child, Dr. Morfoot has been interested in optometry. She became her eye doctor’s youngest contact lens patient in first grade at age 6. Dr. Morfoot has been in practice and providing eyecare in the Northwest suburbs since 2007.
Dr. Morfoot resides in Huntley with her husband, two daughters and two Dobermans. In her free time, she enjoys running, cycling, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Amie Gandhi, O.D.
About Dr. Gandhi
Dr. Gandhi’s passion for optometry began at a young age when she received her first pair of eyeglasses. She believes that the sense of sight is a crucial aspect of one’s quality of life and finds it rewarding to help others achieve clear, comfortable vision. Furthermore, Dr. Gandhi values that the eyes are the window to inside the body where you can see conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure and enjoys working with fellow medical professionals to provide quality healthcare to patients.
When Dr. Gandhi isn’t caring for patients, she is exploring new restaurants and cities, spending time with loved ones, and caring for her cat, Louie.
Javier Rodriguez, O.D.
About Dr. Rodriguez
Dr. Rodriguez specializes in ocular disease and vision therapy. He holds certification on competency-based examination in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease from the International Association of Boards of Examiners in Optometry.
On becoming an optometrist, Dr. Rodriguez says he knew he wanted to help people and had always enjoyed math and science. He shadowed his childhood optometrist who also provided vision therapy and realized the difference it had made in the lives of kids who were struggling to learn in school.
While in graduate school, Dr. Rodriguez realized the importance of optometry as a preventative health care beyond prescribing new glasses or contact lenses. Fluent in English and Spanish, Dr. Rodriguez finds it rewarding to help detect and manage patients with various eye diseases they otherwise may not have known they had. He enjoys helping to enhance his patients’ vision, treating and managing their ocular health to improve their quality of life.
When Dr. Rodriguez is not with his patients, he is spending quality time with his wife and their newborn daughter. He is a member of St. Thomas Catholic Church and finds great interest in hiking, bowling, and disc golf.
S. Barry Eiden, O.D.
About Dr. Eiden
Deerfield Office President & Medical Director, Comprehensive Medical Eye Care, Complex Contact Lens Management, Keratoconus Management.
S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO, FSLS received his Doctor of Optometry from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry where he also earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology.
Dr. Eiden completed his residency in Ocular Disease Management at the Illinois College of Optometry in affiliation with the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center and the Westside Veterans Administration Medical Center in 1982 and 1983, respectively.
Before he founded North Suburban Vision Consultants in 1990, Dr. Eiden was a full-time assistant clinical professor at the SUNY College of Optometry and Chief of Primary Eye Care Services from 1984 to 1989.
Dr. Eiden specializes in anterior segment disease management with special emphasis in keratoconus and corneal ectasia, advanced contact lens management, and ocular surface disease/dry eye management.
His interest in medical care “focused” into optometry as he came to understand the impact of visual dysfunction and ocular disease on patients. “Seeing how we can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life made the choice to practice optometry an easy one,” says Dr. Eiden. He enjoys having the ability to provide advanced care to patients and impacting their lives in a positive and dramatic way daily.
When he is not treating patients, Dr. Eiden finds great interest in playing golf and the guitar. He is also a wine enthusiast and is a Level One sommelier.
Carol L. Barron, O.D.
About Dr. Barron
Carol Barron, O.D., F.A.A.O. received her Doctor of Optometry from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry in 1981, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Prior to beginning her private practice optometry career, Dr. Barron was full-time in academy as Assistant Professor at the SUNY College of Optometry. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northwestern University Medical Center.
Dr. Barron’s mother developed a genetic eye disease that resulted in her legal blindness. From that experience, Dr. Barron decided at a young age that she wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of those who suffer from vision loss. Dr. Barron specializes in low vision rehabilitation, and especially values the positive impact she has on her patients’ quality of life based on the expert and thorough eye care services she provides.
In her free time away from the office, Dr. Barron enjoys cooking, learning about wine appreciation, and exercising, but mostly loves spending quality time with her family.
Raphaella Tran, O.D.
About Dr. Raphaella
Megan Allen, O.D.
About Dr. Allen
Megan Allen, O.D., FAAO received her Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University.
Specializing in pediatric vision care and binocular vision, Dr. Allen says she became an optometrist because she wanted to be a doctor, care for others and make a difference. She’s loved pediatric optometry since witnessing what a proper correction can do for the development of a young child. She is passionate about the science of the eye and the fact that much can be seen and diagnosed from a simple eye exam that can change a patient’s life.
Dr. Allen is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). She educates future optometrists and enjoys working with symptomatic patients to improve their visual function through therapy, which in turn makes their vision better and more comfortable.
In her free time, Dr. Allen is a fitness fanatic and enjoys everything from barre and running to cycling and weights! She refers to her fitness activities as her meditation. She loves the arts, ballet, dance, and theater. Dr. Allen also enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants. She is a wife and mother of three beautiful girls who keep her on her toes.
Sarah Rogers, O.D.
About Dr. Rogers
Prior to becoming an optometrist, Dr. Rogers wanted to be a teacher. She began working part-time in schools on the south side of Chicago, where she became very adept at identifying struggling students who had a vision problem and not a reading problem. She noticed how much poor vision can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, and she became more interested in becoming an optometrist to help people enjoy their best vision possible.
Dr. Rogers has a special interest in ocular disease and especially enjoys being able to make a difference in her patients’ lives. Whether it’s as simple as an eyeglass prescription or as complex as managing chronic conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration, she believes helping patients maximize their vision can have a profound impact on their quality of life.
When Dr. Rogers is not treating patients, she enjoys caring for animals, reading, swimming, and kayaking.
O.D. FAAO, FSLS, Dipl. AAO,
About Dr. Hogan
Dr. Casey Hogan is the owner of Advanced Eye Care Professionals PC since 2003.
Dr. Hogan is only the fourth optometrist in the country to attain Diplomate status in Anterior Segment diseases of the eye, from the American Academy of Optometry.
Diplomates are Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry who have invested hundreds of hours of preparation and assessment in order to be recognized by peers for their extensive skill and expertise in their research or practice.
Jamie N. Hogan
O.D. FAAO, FSLS, Dipl. AAO,
About Dr. Hogan
Dr. Hogan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate candidate for the Anterior Section of the Academy. Dr. Hogan served as student externship coordinator at the Danville, IL VA Medical center where she held adjunct faculty appointments with four Optometry schools.
She currently practices at Andrew Benjamin VA in Crown Point, IN. She is currently adjunct faculty at ICO and precepts ICO optometry students at ABJ.
Tiffany Polanek O.D.
Dr. Tiffany Polanek grew up in a small farming community in southern Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Moorhead State University in Minnesota in 1996, and her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Michigan College of Optometry in 2000. She continued her training at the Illinois College of Optometry, completing the Primary Care and Ocular Disease residency program in 2001. Dr. Polanek has provided optometric care in a variety of different settings. Her career includes 15 years of teaching at the Illinois Eye Institute as an Associate Clinical Instructor in both the Primary Care Clinic and in the Cornea and Contact Lens Center for Clinical Excellence. While there, she provided eye care to patients, and clinical education to optometry students. She has extensive expertise in both adult and pediatric primary eye care, contact lenses – both traditional and specialty, and ocular disease. Dr. Polanek joined AEP in March 2016, where she provides eye care to patients of all ages. Dr. Polanek, her husband, and 4 children have made their home in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, and enjoy being a part of this beautiful community.
Michelle Man, OD, FAAO, FSLS
About Dr. Man
She further completed a residency program in Cornea and Contact Lens where she trained at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), University of Chicago, and Advanced Eye Care Professionals alongside Dr. Casey Hogan.
Dr. Man is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society. She is currently a full-time faculty member at ICO teaching students how to fit specialty contact lenses in the Cornea Clinic and working with residents to triage same-day ocular disease cases in the Urgent Care Clinic.
Sam Forzley, OD
About Dr. Forzley
Dr. Forzley specializes in family optometry and glaucoma management. He jokes that he became an optometrist because he did not make it to the NFL and did not have the voice to be a rock star. Nonetheless, he does enjoy being able to help his patients with their visual needs.
When he is not treating patients, Dr. Forzley finds joy in outdoor activities, Jimmy Buffett concerts, college football, and most of all, spending time with his family.
Deana LaBrosse, O.D.
About Dr. LaBrosse
Deana LaBrosse, O.D. received her Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry, where she graduated magna cum laude. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Specializing in dry eye treatment, Dr. LaBrosse loves creating relationships with people and seeing them return year after year. She says it is very gratifying when patients follow the treatment plan and see the positive results.
Dr. LaBrosse had amblyopia as a child. Later, while completing her undergraduate degree in Chemistry, she worked for an optometrist who encouraged her to look at optometry as a career. Her clinical experience is varied, and includes pediatrics, medical and surgical eye care, and low vision care for the visually impaired. Currently, she provides advanced treatment and care for dry eye patients in her Evanston practice.
Dr. LaBrosse is a proud participant in the InfantSEE program and volunteers her time for the Special Olympics Opening Eyes program.
When she is not treating patients, Dr. LaBrosse is putting her chemistry skills to work as a craft brewer at home. She also makes hard cider. Her husband is cultivating an apple orchard in their yard (40 trees and counting), so the goal is to use apples sourced from their home.
Kurtis Carlson, O.D.
About Dr. Carlson
Dr. Carlson grew up just outside of Chicago in Elgin, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry on the Dean’s List in 1989 and was a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society.
Dr. Carlson moved to Quincy, Illinois and in 2002 opened 20/20 EyeCare, Inc.
He is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Illinois Optometric Association.
In his spare time, Dr. Carlson enjoys motorcycling and jet skiing. He is an AVID Chicago Bears fan.
Jonathon Thoele, O.D.
About Dr. Thoele
Dr. Jonathon Thoele completed his undergraduate degree at Quincy University and received his Doctorate of Optometry from Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, IL. He began practicing optometry at IEC in 2012.
Dr. Thoele finds optometry to be a “family friendly” career choice. One of his favorite parts of his profession is when a child gets excited to be seeing clearly with new glasses for the first time in his/her life.