Business of the Week: Wisconsin Eye Clinics

Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: business this week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the unique flavor of the metro area. Find out how to present your business by emailing

Historical photos of eye clinics in Wisconsin. (contribute)

This week’s featured business is the Wisconsin Eye Clinic, located at 800 N. First St., Wausau, which has been providing exceptional service for nearly six years. The Wisconsin Eye Clinic was founded in 1963 by brothers Gordon and Bill Backer and has served central and northern Wisconsin since then. Eye clinics are owned by licensed ophthalmologists whose primary objective is to provide quality, professional eye care and hearing services. The organization soon expanded to its eighth clinic, offering state-of-the-art diagnostic, laser, surgical, pediatric and general eye care in the region. You’ll also find a wide variety of eyewear, including designer frames, sunglasses and premium lenses for all ages, including kids. Wisconsin Eye Clinic has locations in Wausau, Rhinelander, Antigo, Merrill, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and Medford, with a Marshfield location opening in January 2023. The team of 12 ophthalmologists, 7 optometrists, an audiologist and approximately 200 dedicated staff are highly trained and focused on ensuring the best possible care at an affordable price – flexible financing options Aims to make vision correction affordable for all. Here, learn more about eye clinics in Wisconsin, from the organization’s mission to what patients can expect when they walk in the door. We’re excited to make this long-standing Wausau organization our Business of the Week!

Wausau Eye Clinic, Wisconsin.Contribute photos

Tell us about your mission, and what motivates your employees the most.

Our practice is guided by a vision…yours. For nearly 60 years, we have provided patients with quality, professional eye care. Our physicians and staff are rigorously trained in a wide range of specialties, and our clinics provide the most comprehensive range of diagnostic, laser, surgical, pediatric, general eye care, and hearing aid care.

What surgical options do you offer to help people improve their vision?

The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin and EC Laser & Surgery Institute is central Wisconsin’s premier eye care facility. Our comprehensive approach makes us unique in the eye care industry. We welcome patients to begin their eye care journey with us at any point in their lives, whether in pediatrics, routine eye exams or cataract surgery.

How long does an eye exam take? what can i expect

Wisconsin eye clinics provide patient care through a variety of services and procedures, and visit lengths may vary depending on specialty service needs, but a typical routine eye exam takes 1-1.5 hours.

What is bloat and why is it necessary?

Eye drops are put into your eyes to dilate or dilate the pupils. It may take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to fully dilate after you get eye drops. Once your pupils are dilated, our doctors use special magnifying glasses to examine your retina for signs of damage and other eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration. Dilated pupils also allow your doctor to check for optic nerve damage that occurs with glaucoma. Your near vision may remain blurred for several hours after the test.

How is Cataract Diagnosed?

Cataracts are usually discovered during an examination by a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist. Wisconsin eye clinics have many ophthalmologists and optometrists who are qualified to diagnose cataracts. Regular appointments are important for early detection of cataracts. Some standard eye exams that can be used to diagnose cataracts include:

  • Eyesight tests – charts to assess a patient’s vision at various distances
  • Pupil dilation – eye drops that dilate the pupil to better examine the lens and retina

How effective is cataract surgery?

According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 98 percent of cataract surgeries are considered successful. The risk is even lower for patients undergoing advanced procedures offered at Wisconsin Eye Clinics. Most patients report improved vision with few complications.

Tell us about your new location opening in January.

We are excited to expand our operations into the Marshfield area. Having a facility in Marshfield will allow us to care for patients in their own communities. We will provide patients with many services, thereby reducing traffic barriers. We are also happy to have Dr. Christiana Gandy, glaucoma specialist and Ph.D. Jesse Birsching, Low Vision Optometrist, recently joined our practice. These providers will add to the regular services we already offer to provide the best possible care for patients.

What makes an eye clinic different? What makes you unique?

In January 2013, Wisconsin Eye Clinic opened its outpatient surgery center, EC Laser & Surgery Institute of WI, LLC, at its Wausau location. As the region’s only dedicated ophthalmic outpatient surgery center, the EC Institute of Laser and Surgery is well-equipped to provide a high level of care for a wide range of eye conditions including glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment, as well as functional and cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.

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