Doctors & Staff



   Dr. Dale S. Barr


Dr. Barr

Dr. Barr attended The Illinois College of Optometry and was active in many aspects of optometry school.  He served as a class officer, was a member of the student senate and a lab instructor in the Vision Therapy Clinic. Upon graduation, in1975, he received a Special Certificate in Vision Therapy and was a recipient of the Howard M. Kohen research award. He returned to his hometown in London Ohio to start his Optometric career. However, in 1976, he was recruited by Drs. Kiracofe and Beigel and moved to Sidney to develop a pediatric sub-specialty.  Special children’s vision evaluations, Developmental Visual-Perceptual examinations, Strabismus and Amblyopia evaluations and Vision Therapy soon became a reality in Shelby County. Over the years, Dr. Barr developed a home-based Visual Therapy Program and has served as an Optometric consultant for Hardin-Houston, Versailles, Jackson Center, Russia and Fairlawn school systems.  Dr. Barr continues to enjoy primary eye care Optometry, with an emphasis in children’s vision.


Professionally, he is a member of; the American and Ohio Optometric Associations, the Optometric Extension Program (OEP) and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).


Within the Community Dr. Barr has been a member of many boards, including: the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Shelby County United Way, Salvation Army, S&H Industries, Shelby County MRDD, Shelby County American Cancer Society and the Shelby County Historical Society.  He has also dedicated his time and efforts as a member of the first Board of Directors for the Sidney Athletic 200 Club, an Elder of The First Presbyterian Church, Tri-County Head Start Health Board, and The Adult Basic Education Literacy Council.  He has served as an Optometric Consultant for the West Central Ohio Special Education Service (SERCC) serving 7 counties.


Outside of Optometry, his interests include; gardening, woodworking and remodeling homes (especially his boys), as well as “spending time with the grandchildren”.  Together, Dr. Barr and his wife, Carol, have 7sons and 7 grandkids. 


  Jeffrey R. Ahrns


Dr. Ahrns

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.  Sharing the expertise of his five associates’ optometric specialties insures high quality care regardless of the patients’ individual needs.  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, Chamber of Commerce, GYM Committee and Board of Directors of Arrowhead Golf Club.


Jeff and his wife, Debbie, enjoy their two children Alyson, a journalism/media arts major at Butler University and Caleb, who is finishing high school in Minster with hopes of pursuing his education in molecular microbiology/pre-med.  Debbie has dedicated her efforts in special education as an Early Innervation Specialist for the Auglaize Co. Board of MRDD.  Together they enjoy traveling, golf, their horses and the experiences shared with their children.


Dr. Denise L. Gutman


Dr. Gutman

Denise L. Gutman, O.D. graduated from the Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1997.  Originally from Piqua, Ohio she moved to Sidney in 1998 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 Saint Paris locations. 


Dr. Gutman 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,  Dr. Gutman enjoys  golf, knitting, singing in the church choir and attending community events.  Locally Dr. Gutman has been a member of The American Red Cross Board of Shelby County, board member of the Sidney Shelby Chamber of Commerce and is current  treasurer of Zone 9 of the Ohio Optometric Association.


Dr. John E. Beigel


Dr. Beigel

Dr. John E. Beigel was born and raised in Sidney, Ohio and graduated from Sidney High School in 1981.  He graduated from Wittenberg University in 1985 with a Bachelors of Science degree.  In 1989, he received his doctorate degree from The Ohio State College of Optometry.   He joined Primary EyeCare Associates in the same year.  He has served on various community and state boards, including; the Salvation Army, Lions Club, Shelby County OSU Alumni Club, Wilson Memorial Board of Trustee’s, the OOA motorist vision committee,  OOA-Zone 9 governor, OOA-consultant for OSHP/BMV, Dayton VA Medical Center-student instructor, OD Professional-EHR consultant and clinical investigator with the Wells Institute for Health Awareness.  He has served on various other local campaign’s /committee’s.  He currently divides his clinic time between the offices in Sidney and Jackson Center.


He has three brothers; Jeff, Jerry, (John) and Joe, all siblings of John and Jan Beigel.  He and his wife Lisa have two children, Andy (92) and Kristin (94).  Hobbies include; woodworking, carving, hiking and other outdoor activities.


Dr. Karen T. Fortman


Dr. Fortman

Dr. Karen Fortman has been enjoying providing vision and eye health care 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, with a special interest in pediatric eye care.  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 provides special vision evaluations for the school-age child to assess the development of binocular vision and visual perception.  She is an active member of our team of optometrists and vision therapists that provide vision therapy.  Her practice of optometry, however, is not limited to pediatric eye care, as she enjoys providing primary eye care services for the entire family.


Dr. Fortman is active in the Ohio Optometric Association.  She is currently the Lieutenant Governor of her zone and will serve as Governor next term.


Dr. Fortman and her husband, Jim, are the parents of two children and reside in Fort Loramie.  She has served on a number of community service organizations including most recently the Liberty Days planning committee, GYM, and the Business Education Partnership committee of Shelby County.  She is a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.


Dr. Scott M. Schwartz


Dr. Schwartz

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 Wittenberg, he attended The Ohio State University College of Optometry and graduated in 2000.  Dr. Schwartz is trained to manage many ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy as well as many other ocular conditions. 


He also enjoys fitting astigmatism correcting and bifocal contact lenses.  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, Ohio Optometric Association, The Troy Lions Club, and St. Patrick Church in Troy.  Dr. Schwartz resides in Troy with his wife Alexis, and their two boys, Brayden and Devin.


Dr. Janessa M. Simon


Dr. Simon

Dr. Janessa Simon recently graduated from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in June of 2009, and then began working with Primary EyeCare Associates in July of 2009. She graduated from Fort Loramie High School in 2001, and then from The Ohio State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Dr. Simon currently sees patients of all ages in the Sidney, Jackson Center, Fort Loramie, and Troy offices.


Dr. Simon is a current member of the Ohio Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, participates in InfantSEE, and RealEyes.


She currently resides in Fort Loramie with her husband Ryan and her two sons. She enjoys traveling, sports, and other outdoor activities. Dr. Simon is an active member on the Fort Loramie Liberty Days Committee, and she also participates in her local Relay for Life team, which raises money for cancer research.