Eye care professionals specialize in understanding how the human eye really works, as well as diseases and conditions that affect your vision – many of which do not have obvious symptoms. Eye doctors know how age and risk factors affect vision over time for young and old, and they understand the benefits and features of corrective lenses including eyeglasses and contacts.
Our optometrists take the time to explain the results of your eye exam, describe your options and listen to your eye care needs. Because maintaining good eye health is an ongoing partnership, we encourage you to ask questions and share your health information, which could be vital to monitoring, diagnosing and treating potential vision problems.
Meet our doctors:
After completing his studies at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Dr. Ahrns initiated his career with Primary EyeCare Associates in 1981. Disease evaluation and treatment with emphasis in glaucoma, diabetes, cataract and macular degeneration remain areas of special interest for Dr. Ahrns within the general optometric practice. With the opportunity to access many cutting edge diagnostic technologies and facilities as well as a caring and well trained staff that Primary EyeCare provides, Dr. Ahrns enjoys providing patient care at the height of the optometric profession. He practices in the Sidney and Ft. Loramie offices.
Dr Ahrns is a member of the American and Ohio Optometric Associations. Locally he has served in the Sidney Lions Club, Ft. Loramie Kiwanis, the Ft. Loramie Community Service Club, Chamber of Commerce, GYM Committee and Board of Directors of Arrowhead Golf Club.
Jeff and his wife, Debbie, enjoy their two children Alyson, a senior public relations manager in Manhatten and Caleb, who is the managing Director of the Clinic at OSU Hospital. Debbie dedicated her efforts in special education as an Early Innervation Specialist for the Auglaize Co. Board of MRDD, and is enjoying her retirement teaching juvenile golf and volunteering with autism support organizations. Together they enjoy traveling, golf, their horses and the experiences shared with their children.
Denise L. Welker (Gutman), O.D. graduated from the Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1987 as Dr. Gutman. Originally from Piqua, Ohio she moved to Sidney in 1989 to join Primary EyeCare Associates. She specializes in specialty contact lens fittings as well as pediatric eye care, but enjoys the general practice of Optometry at the Sidney and Troy locations.
Dr. Welker has been a member of the American Optometric Association, The Ohio Optometric Association, Contact Lens Section, and Ohio Extension Program for vision therapy and enjoys making Real Eyes presentations for area school children.
Residing in Sidney with her husband Dave, Dr. Welker enjoys golf, knitting, reading, singing in the church choir and attending community events. Locally Dr. Welker has been a member of The American Red Cross Board of Shelby County, board member of the Sidney Shelby Chamber of Commerce and is past treasurer of Zone 9 of the Ohio Optometric Association.
Born and raised in Sidney, Ohio and graduated from Sidney High School in 1981. He has three brothers (Jeff, Jerry and Joe) all of whom are sons of Dr. John and Janis Beigel. He pursued a teaching degree at BGSU before transferring to Wittenberg University to obtain his pre-med training and Bachelor of Science degree in 1985. He went on to Ohio State College of Optometry and graduated in 1989 with his Doctorate degree and joined Primary EyeCare Associates in 1989. He married his high school sweetheart, has two children (Andy and Kristin) and currently serves as president of Primary EyeCare Associates.
He has supported various community and professional organizations over the years including; Lions Club past president, The Salvation Army-past president, Zone governor for the Ohio Optometric Association, Wilson Memorial Hospital board member, Raise the Roof for the arts- past president, ECPN district advisor and enjoys wood working, making bowls on a lathe, creating stained glass artwork and hopes to add a few more hobbies in the future.
Professionally he enjoys managing refractive surgery patients, diabetics, macular degeneration patients and is planning on obtaining his certification in genetic testing to offer to his patients in the near future. 'I generally just like helping people and that’s pretty much what makes my day’.
Dr. Karen Fortman has been enjoying taking care of the vision and eye health of her family, friends and community with Primary EyeCare Associates since 1994. She attended Fort Loramie High School and The Ohio State University College of Optometry. She currently sees patients of all ages in our Sidney and Fort Loramie offices. Dr. Fortman participates in InfantSEE and Realeyes, volunteer programs to educate parents, children and teachers about the importance of a lifetime of vision and eye health care. She also enjoys spending time with students interested in a career in optometry, sharing her enthusiasm and love for the profession.
Dr. Fortman and her husband, Jim, are the parents of two young adults and reside in Fort Loramie. She has served on a number of community service organizations including The Shelby County Community Foundation, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Ft. Loramie Music Boosters and Football Boosters Organizations and the Business Education Partnership committee of Shelby County. She is a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
Dr. Scott M. Schwartz has been with Primary EyeCare Associates since 2000. He went to undergraduate school at Wittenberg University and graduated in 1996 with a major in biology and a minor in biochemistry. After graduating Wittenberg, he attended The Ohio State University College of Optometry and graduated in 2000. Dr. Schwartz is trained to manage ocular diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy as well as many others conditions.
He enjoys fitting many forms of contact lenses including astigmatism correcting and bifocal contact lenses. In addition, Dr. Schwartz is credentialed to fit scleral contact lenses which are used to fit irregular corneas such as keratoconus. He participates in the Realeyes program which involves speaking to many local elementary students discussing how the eye works and functions.
He is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Ohio Optometric Association, St. Patrick Church in Troy, and is a current board member of the Miami County YMCA. In his free time, Dr. Schwartz enjoys golfing, attending different forms of motorsports events, and spending time with his family. He resides in Troy with his wife Alexis, and their two boys, Brayden and Devin.
Dr. Lauren Grillot grew up in Fort Loramie, Ohio. After graduating from Fort Loramie High School she went on to complete her undergraduate degree with a major in biology from Ohio Northern University where she was also a member of the indoor and outdoor track team. She graduated from The Ohio State College of Optometry in 2010 with a dual OD/MS degree. After graduation she joined a private practice in Troy, Ohio for several years before joining Primary EyeCare Associates in 2015.
Dr. Grillot completed her Fellowship with the American Academy of Optometry in 2014. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, Ohio Optometric Association, American Academy of Optometry, Optometric Extension Program. Her primary interests include working with children with amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus and children who have vision problems that interfere with their ability to read and learn, but welcomes patients of all ages.
Dr. Grillot lives in Fort Loramie with her high school sweetheart Ryan and they have three children and a crazy Labrador. She is a member of St. Michael Catholic Church and enjoys running 5K races, crocheting, gardening and canning.
Dr. Eilerman was born and raised in Minster. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduating from Miami in 2010, Dr. Eilerman joined Teach For America and taught seventh grade science in Bridgeport, Connecticut for two years. She returned to Ohio to attend The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 2012. Dr. Eilerman earned both her Doctorate of Optometry (OD) and Masters in Vision Science (MS) upon graduation from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 2016.
Dr. Eilerman provides comprehensive eye care to patients of all ages. She has a special interest in specialty contact lenses called scleral contacts that are for patients with keratoconus and other corneal irregularities. Her other interests include general contact lens care and ocular disease. She is a member of the American Optometric Association and Ohio Optometric Association. Dr. Eilerman also completed her Fellowship with the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) in 2019.
Dr. Eilerman resides in Minster with husband, Curtis, 2 daughters, and dog. She is a member of St. Augustine Church in Minster. She enjoys doing and teaching yoga, kayaking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Jacob Luthman grew up in Saint Marys, Ohio. He graduated from Saint Marys Memorial High School in 2010. After High School he attended The Ohio State University where he completed his undergrad with a degree in Biology. He then went on to complete his Doctorate of Optometry degree at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Dr. Luthman became nationally certified for the treatment and management of ocular disease and focuses on patient care and education.
Dr. Luthman is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Ohio Optometric Association. His primary interests for vision care include primary care optometry and the treatment of glaucoma. Dr. Luthman is looking forward to being able to provide excellent optometric care to patients of all ages in the Shelby and Miami County areas.
Dr. Luthman currently lives in Troy. He enjoys playing golf, reading, and watching his favorite sports teams in his spare time.
Dr. Heather Frideger was born and raised in Minster, Ohio. After graduating from Minster High School in 2012, she attended The Ohio State University where she received her Bachelors in Vision Science. Dr. Frideger then continued her education at The Ohio State University and graduated with her Doctorate of Optometry in May 2019.
Dr. Frideger enjoys providing excellent vision and eye care to patients of all ages with special interests in ocular disease and Low Vision care. In addition, she enjoys volunteering on medical mission trips and providing RealEyes presentations to local school children. She is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Ohio Optometric Association.
Dr. Frideger currently resides in Minster with her husband, Alec and daughter, Claire. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and being with her family and friends.