Business of the Week: Eye Clinic of Wisconsin

Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the 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 the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing

Historical photo of Eye Clinic of Wisconsin. (Contributed)

This week’s featured business is Eye Clinic of Wisconsin, 800 N. First St., Wausau, which has been providing exceptional services for nearly six decades. The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin was founded in 1963 by brothers Gordon and Bill Backer and has been serving Central and Northern Wisconsin since then. Owned by its practicing ophthalmologists, the Eye Clinic’s main goal is to provide quality, expert eye care and hearing services. Soon expanding to its eighth clinic, the organization offers state-of-the-art diagnostic, laser, surgical, pediatric, and general eye care in the region. You’ll also find a wide variety of glasses including designer frames, sunglasses and advanced lenses for all ages, including those for children. The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin has locations in Wausau, Rhinelander, Antigo, Merrill, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Medford and in January 2023 will be opening a Marshfield location as well. The team of 12 ophthalmologists, seven optometrists, an audiologist and about 200 dedicated employees are well-trained and focused on ensuring the finest care at reasonable prices – with flexible financing options designed to make vision correction affordable for all. Here, learn more about the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin, from the organization’s mission to what patients can expect when they walk through the doors. We’re happy to feature this longstanding Wausau organization as our Business of the Week!

Eye Clinic of Wisconsin in Wausau. Contributed photo

Tell us about your mission, and what inspires the staff most.

Our practice is guided by one vision…yours. We have provided patients with quality, expert eye care for almost 60 years. Our doctors and staff are highly trained in a broad array of specialties and our clinics offer the most comprehensive care for diagnostic, laser, surgical, pediatric, general eye care, as well as hearing assistance.

What are some of the surgical options you offer to help people with their vision?

The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin and EC Laser & Surgery Institute is the premier eye care provider for Central Wisconsin. Our comprehensive care makes us unique in the eye care industry. We welcome patients to start their eye care journey with us at any point in their lives, whether that takes place in the Pediatrics department, or for a routine eye exam, or Cataract surgery.

How long do eye exams take? What can I expect?

The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin cares for patients through a variety of services and procedures and visit length can vary depending on the need for specialized services, but a typical routine eye exam takes 1-1.5 hours.

What is dilation and why is it necessary?

Drops are placed in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupils. Once the drops are given, it can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to fully dilate. Once your pupils are dilated, our physicians use a special magnifying lens to examine your retina to look for signs of damage and other eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration. A dilated eye exam also allows your physician to check for damage to the optic nerve that occurs when a person has glaucoma. After the examination, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.

How is a cataract diagnosed?

Cataracts are usually detected during an examination by a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist. The Eye Clinic of Wisconsin has many ophthalmologists and optometrists qualified to diagnose cataracts. Regular appointments are important for early detection of cataracts. Some of the standard eye tests that may be used to diagnose cataracts include:

  • Visual acuity test – A chart is used to evaluate how well the patient sees at multiple distances
  • Pupil dilation – Eye drops widen the pupil so that the lens and retina can be better examined

How effective is cataract surgery?

According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 98% of cataract surgeries are considered successful. Risk is even lower in patients who undergo the advanced procedures available from the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin. Most patients report improved vision and few complications.

Tell us about the new location you’re opening in January.

We are excited to grow our practice to the Marshfield area. Having a facility in Marshfield will allow us to care for patients in their own community. We will have many services we will be able to provide to patients therefore decreasing transportation barriers. We are also excited to have Dr. Christiana Gandy, Glaucoma Specialist, and Dr. Jesse Birsching, Low Vision Optometrist, joined our practice recently. These providers will add to the vast services we already provide to offer the best possible care for patients.

What makes the Eye Clinic different? What sets you apart?

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

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