About Us

About Our Practice

Eyecare Center of St. James is pleased to offer a wide range of optometric services, eye care products including eyeglasses, specialty eyewear, frames, and contact lenses. Our staff is happy to help however we can.

Our mission is quality eye care and personal attention to our patients. It shows in everything that we do. From your first contact with us to your appointment and your follow-up, we aim to make your eye care experience great. This is what drives us to provide you with the best care year after year!

Contact us any time to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.

Dr. Timothy Pinke, Optometrist

Dr. Timothy Pinke was born and raised in Valley City, North Dakota. He attended Valley City State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Science as well as his Doctor of Optometry degree from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Dr. Pinke also completed training in Primary Care Optometry at the Oak Harbor Naval Hospital in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Dr. Pinke began practicing optometry in St. James, MN, in 1992. He enjoys practicing primary eye care optometry which includes treatment and management of eye disease, glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery consultations. He works to educate his patients on their individual visual function and that “vision is much more than 20/20”. Dr. Pinke is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Minnesota Optometric Association, the South Central Optometric Society, and is a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society.

When he is away from the office, Dr. Pinke enjoys spending time with his 3 adult children. Austin (and Abby) Pinke, Kyle and Noah. Dr. Pinke enjoys following sporting events, coaching baseball and spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Steven Jeppson, Optometrist

Dr. Steven Jeppson was born in Fergus Falls, MN, raised in the Wendell, MN, area, and graduated from Elbow Lake. MN, High School. After graduating from Waldorf College, attending Concordia College in Moorhead. MN, Dr. Jeppson earned his BSVS degree as well as his doctorate degree 111 optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry Dr. Jeppson was employed in the Moorhead. MN/Fargo, ND, area for two years, prior to starting his own optometric practice in Madelia. MN, in 1980. In 1985. Dr. Jeppson purchased the practice of Dr. Wm Gosche. and in 2008 merged practices with Dr. Tim Pinke. Dr. Jeppson is a member of the American and Minnesota Optometric Associations and also the South-Central Optometric Society.

Other Activities Include:

  • St. James Area Foundation – Board Member
  • First Lutheran Church – Member (former President) and Praise Singers member
  • St. James Sertoma Club – Member (former President)
  • St. James Chamber of Commerce – Member
  • St. James Schools – District 840 Foundation (former President)
  • St. James EDA -Board Member

Dr Jeppson has lived in St. James with his wife, Julie, since 1985. They have 2 adult children: Kara (Dustin) Anderson, RNP-C, employed at Mayo Clinic Health System -St. James. MN. and Lance (Stacia) Jeppson. employed at Pioneer Bank, Mankato MN.

In his spare time, Dr. Jeppson enjoys biking, running. boating, watching Gopher sporting events. and most of all. playing with and watching his five grandchildren: Daevon, Kallin. and Alek Anderson. Christian Jeppson and Emilia Jeppson.

Dr. Bikholz

Dr. Emily Birkholz, Ophthalmologist

Emily S. (Anderson) Birkholz is a native of St James and alumni of Minnesota State University, Mankato where she played basketball for the Mavericks. She earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor society for being top in her class. She completed a 1 year internship at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She completed her ophthalmology residency at the University of Iowa, one of the top programs in the country, where she received the PJ Leinfelder Research Award and Resident Teaching Award. She joined Ophthalmology Associates in 2011. She is Board Certified in Ophthalmology and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

She specializes in Cataract Surgery including Multifocal and Toric intraocular lenses, Laser Refractive Surgery (All-Laser wave front guided LASIK, and PRK), medical retina including laser and intraocular injections for macular degeneration and diabetes, glaucoma management, as well as functional and cosmetic eyelid surgery. In her spare time she enjoys being a wife and mother, coaching youth volleyball and basketball, fishing, boating, traveling, running and golf.

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Biology: Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN; 2002
  • Bachelor of Arts, Chemistry: Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN;2002
  • MD: University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN; 2007
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society
  • Transitional Internship: Gundersen Luthern Hospital, LaCrosse, Wisconsin; 2008
  • Ophthalmology Residency: University of Iowa, Iowa City; 2011
  • Resident Teaching Award
  • P.J. Leinfelder Research Award

Board Certification

2012, American Board of Ophthalmology

Professional Associations

American Academy of Ophthalmology, Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology, Minnesota Medical Association, Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology, Blue Earth County Medical Society, International Society of Refractive Surgery, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

Areas of Practice

  • Cataract Surgery – Including Multifocal and Toric IOLs
  • LASIK Refractive Surgery – Including Intralase LASIK, Custom Treatments, PRK
  • Glaucoma Exams and Treatment
  • Diabetic and Macular Degeneration Evaluations and Treament – Including Intravitreal Injections
  • Eyelid Surgery
  • General Eye Surgery and Examinations

Dr. Birkholz and staff provides outreach services at the Eyecare Center of St. James.

Dr. Gavin

Dr. Todd Gavin, Ophthalmologist

Dr. Todd Gavin graduated from St. Clair High School, received a B.S. degree in Biology from MSU, medical education at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, where he obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree. He has been board certified in Ophthalmology by the American Board of Ophthalmology since 1994 and has served the St. James area since 1993.

Dr. Gavin provides outreach services at the Eyecare Center of St. James.

About Our Team

Our team of eye care professionals is experienced and friendly. We’re here to help all patients understand their benefits, schedule appointments, and fulfill their eye doctor’s orders. Our opticians can give you guidance in picking out your perfect pair of eyewear, and our friendly office staff is knowledgeable about billing and benefits coverage.

Becki Rueter

Becki Reuter

Becki and her husband, Bob, have lived in St James many years. They enjoy the “small town charm” and the many acquaintances they know because of it. They raised their family in the community and have grandchildren nearby to keep them busy.

Becki has worked for the EyeCare Center of St James for more than 26 years and enjoys the friendships she has formed. Becki greets the patients at the front desk and on the phone. She schedules appointments, does pre-testing, receives payments, delivers product, and many various jobs to keep her busy each day. She loves having a relationship with the patients, caring for their eyecare and getting to know new people in the community. The doctors are wonderful to work for which has kept her at the same job for many years.

In her free time, she enjoys family gatherings, travel, girlfriend getaways, grandchildren activities and baking.

Sheila Kilmer

Sheila started her career in 2009 & joined our team in 2011. She started out working at the front desk and has worked her way into learning many jobs around the office, such as showing patients frames and helping them pick the perfect pair. She orders contacts, vitamins, office supplies, meets with frame reps, helps run the website, helps with visual fields & optical coherence tomography (OCT). In 2020, she took a course and received her Office Manager Certification. She likes building personal relationships with patients, it is one of the many reasons she loves her job. She is slightly obsessed with glasses and won’t reveal how many pairs she owns!

Sheila and her husband, Keith live in Madelia and have 2 grown children. Outside of work she enjoys camping, drag races, spending time laughing with friends and family and her fur babies.

Jayne Romsdahl

Jayne Romsdahl has been in Optical for 20 years; she has been a Certified Paraoptometric Technician since 2017. She gained her training while working and completing courses through the Minnesota Optometric Association. In her spare time she is an avid NE Corn husker fan and loves to read.

Marlene Mohwinkel

Marlene has worked at the EyeCare Center of St James since June of 2015. She does our Billing/Coding. She makes sure that all claims/encounters that go out to insurance are done accurately. She also posts all the insurance payments that come into our office to the accurate accounts. On Fridays she sits in as a receptionist. Marlene is a team player and is trained in all aspects of the job. So when it gets busy she is able to help out so that the patients do not have to wait so long. Marlene’s education consists of an Associate’s degree in Health Information Technology (HIT). She carries Certifications as a Professional Coder and a Professional Biller. She is also a Registered Health Information Technologist. She has been in the healthcare field for 14 years.

Things she enjoys outside of work is reading mystery books and also all different kinds of crafts.

Ashley Johnson

Ashley grew up in St.James and joined our team in 2016. She has various roles within the office so it’s likely you’ll connect with her no matter what your reason for visiting is.

Ashley specializes in contact lens fittings, educating first time wearers how to properly care for their lenses. She also performs visual field testings and optical coherence tomography tests. With her experience in customer service, she is valued for her patience and her adaptability to assist patients with any concerns that might arise.

When away from the office, Ashley enjoys spending time outdoors with her family camping, hiking, motocross racing, snowmobiling, sightseeing and traveling. She also enjoys binge watching the newest Netflix series or snuggling up with her two English Springer Spaniels. Ashley would like to welcome you and your family to our office.