An estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the last 12 months.
– 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
Joseph Aschenbrenner, O.D. received his Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1985 and earned his Pre-Med Bachelor of Science from Lewis University. Dr. Aschenbrenner is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Illinois Optometric Association, and the Volunteer Optometric Service for Humanity (VOSH).

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
Lisa Kowar, O.D. received her Doctor of Optometry and Bachelor of Science in Visual Science from the Illinois College of Optometry and earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Loyola University. Dr. Kowar is an active member of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, the American Optometric Association, the Illinois Optometric Association, and the Optometric Extension Program.

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.

Connie Copeland, O.D.

About Dr. Copeland
Connie Copeland, O.D., PhD, received her Doctor of Optometry from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1997. She also received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Yale University and her Bachelor of Science in Zoology and English Literature from Duke University.

Dr. Copeland chose a career in optometry after working many years in the field of cell biology research. She especially likes meeting new people every day and building strong relationships with her patients. This personal interaction allows her to provide them with the best treatment for their individual visual needs.

One of Dr. Copeland’s favorite experiences is seeing her patients’ reactions when they wear contact lenses for the first time. There’s a special smile they show the moment they can see more clearly. In practice since 1997, Dr. Copeland’s fields of special interest include medical eye care and low vision care.

In her time away from the office, Dr. Copeland enjoys spending time with her daughter and their two crazy cats, as well as singing in local choirs.

Toshio Nakajima, O.D.

About Dr. Nakajima
Dr. Toshio Nakajima received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Indiana University in 1987. A native of Japan, Dr. Nakajima also completed an optometry and ophthalmic optics program in Japan prior to optometry school in the United States.

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
Dr. Michael Kennedy did his undergraduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a Bachelor of Sciences in Biology. He then received his Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry, where he graduated with Beta Sigma Kappa honors.

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
Dr. Brauer focuses on contact lenses and myopia control. He was among the first doctors in the country to obtain advanced fitting certifications for several specialty contact lenses. He has also been fitting scleral lenses for keratoconus and other conditions for years, including designs with aberration control and decentered optics for the most precise vision possible, even for challenging patients with corneal disease.

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. Susan M. Penner, O.D. earned her optometry degree with honors from Indiana University in 1987. Dr. Penner was a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa Optometry Honor Society and earned the Irvin M. Borish Optometry Award and the Bausch & Lomb Practice Initiation Award

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.

William C. Hillmann, O.D.

Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center | Crystal Lake Primary Eye Care Center

About Dr. Hillmann
Dr. Hillmann was born and raised in Schaumburg, Illinois, a Chicago Suburb. He is a second generation eye care professional. His parents began the family optical business in 1956 manufacturing and supplying eyeglasses to area eye doctors, friends, and family. Much of his youth was spent helping out in the family business, training and working as an optician with over a decade of full-time experience prior to pursuing college. This gave him a unique knowledge and understanding of every aspect of vision correction and eyeglass manufacturing.

Dr. Hillmann received his Bachelor of Science degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northeastern Illinois University in 1995. He pursued his medical training at the Illinois College of Optometry and was awarded his second bachelor’s degree in Visual Science and his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1999.

Dr. Hillmann holds certification on competency-based examination in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease from THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOARDS OF EXAMINERS IN OPTOMETRY.

With close to 40 years of experience in the optical field and over 19 as a practicing Optometrist, Doctor Hillmann enjoys every aspect of Optometry and the eye care business 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. Dr. Hillmann resides in Belvidere with his wife Holly, an adopted tabby cat Oreo, a Siamese cat Hansel, and German Shepherd dog Whiskey. He is an avid supporter of the shooting sports, outdoorsman, and hunter.

Randall D. Kittle, O.D.

Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center

 

About Dr. Kittle
Dr. Kittle has over 38 years of experience caring for patient’s vision and the health of their eyes. He was born and raised in Rockford, where his father worked at Sundstrand for over 35 years. He enjoys writing and photography, and is very active in the Christian community having pastored a local church for more than eight years.

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.

Richard E. Anderson, O.D.

Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center

About Dr. Anderson
Dr. Anderson has over 40 years of experience as a practicing Optometrist. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University. He pursued his Optometric training and was awarded his doctorate at Indiana University School of Optometry. 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. He is a charter member of the American Optometric Association Contact Lens Section.

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.

Priyanka Patel, O.D.

Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center

About Dr. Patel
Dr. Patel was born in the Chicago suburbs and was drawn to the eye profession due to her own early onset of near-sighted prescription. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, she graduated with a Dual Degree in Biological Sciences and General Psychology. She then went on to earn her doctorate at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry where she received honors in her clinical rotations.

Dr. Patel values practicing as a family doctor with eye care that evolves as you and your family grow. She also recognizes the impact technology and screen time have in our fast-paced world and seeks to provide patients the best glasses and contacts for comfortable computer use. Finally, as we age, our also eyes age. She also has valuable expertise treating diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions. She especially appreciates the opportunity to educate her patients on the connection between ocular and systemic health, as well as how to keep your precious eyes healthy for life.

In her free time, Dr. Patel loves spending time with her family and friends. She also loves to travel and hike, and aims to visit as many wonders as possible. She is active in the profession of optometry as a member of the Illinois Optometric Association and American Optometric Association.

Will A. Watson, O.D.

Primary Eye Care Center Edgebrook | Crystal Lake

About Dr. Watson
Dr. William Watson pursued his medical training at the Illinois College of Optometry and was awarded his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1999. 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.

​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.

Roger H. Hill, O.D.

Edgebrook Primary Eye Care Center

About Dr. Hill
Dr. Hill has over 40 years of experience as a practicing Optometrist. He was awarded his Doctor of Optometry degree from Illinois College of Optometry in 1974. 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. Dr. Hill began his optometric career in Dixon, IL. He then moved to Rockford starting his own practice in 1978.

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.