The Illinois Eye Institute–located right onsite at ICO–offers training that students will not find anywhere else in the world. The IEI provides students with the patient volume, complexity and diverse care experiences that are integral to becoming a well-rounded clinician. With 61 fully equipped examination lanes, the IEI is one of the largest providers of vision and eye care services in the United States, offering students access to more than 90,000 patient visits each year.
All ICO students rotate through primary eye care at the IEI, as well as optometric specialty service areas, including advanced ophthalmic care, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation and pediatrics/binocular vision. In the first year, students enter the Patient Advocate Program and assist patients in making their way through the vast IEI. Second-year students expand their role through rotations in the IEI Community Screening Program and Eyewear Center. Students take on more responsibility for patient care sessions in the third year, while also continuing the didactic program. The entire fourth year comprises hands-on patient care at IEI and rotations through affiliated externship sites. We believe training in various practice settings helps develop a primary care optometrist that can master any type of clinical environment.
In addition to the IEI, students have clinical opportunities in the Eyepod and Adams Center for Clinical Learning. They also are exposed to a wide variety of health care delivery systems through ICO's affiliation with the University of Chicago Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.