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Gary A. Lesher, PhD, FAAO

Professor; Assistant Dean for Didactic Education

Phone: 312-949-7175
Office: 2113

Gary Lesher
Gary Lesher

Dr. Lesher joined the ICO faculty in 1983. His main teaching responsibilities are for the pharmacology sequence in the second year of the professional program. He has been chair of the Basic and Health Science Department since 1999, and is currently the assistant dean for didactic education. Dr. Lesher has a number of publications and book chapters in the areas of Ocular Pharmacology. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and served for a many years on the NBEO exam construction committee for Parts I and II.

Having grown up in Chicago, and then moved away for my college and graduate education, and then taking my first job at the University of Maryland, I was thrilled to return to my home and family when I was offered this faculty position at ICO. Chicago is such a great city, with so much to offer – who wouldn’t want to live here? In addition, the professional program at ICO prepares you to be among the best optometric clinicians in the country. We have had some exceptional NBEO scores and our students are accepted to the top residency programs in the country, as just two examples of the quality of education you can achieve here. I would encourage you to look closely at all ICO has to offer before you decide where to spend your optometric education dollars. I think you will be happy to be a part of the ICO family.

Special Interests

General and Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics


1977  Purdue University, PhD
1974  Purdue University, MS,
1972  Carroll College, BS


1983-present  Illinois College of Optometry

Awards and Honors

2011 Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Class of 2013
2009  Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Class of 2011
2008  Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Class of 2010
2004  Illinois Optometric Association Friend of Optometry Award
2000  Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Class of 2002

Professional Organizations

Fellow, American Academy of Optometry
Member, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Member, Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics


Lesher, G.A., Get side effect savvy. Optometric Management, April 2003; page 45-52.

Ecklund, J.A., Castells, D.D., and Lesher G.A. Variability in doses obtained from a multi-dose ophthalmic solution: further support for an objective compliance method. Optometry 2001; 72:185-188.

Lesher, G.A., Bartlett J.D. and Jaanus, S. Local Anesthetics. In Clinical Ocular Pharmacology, 4th Edition, Bartlett, J.D. and Jaanus, S. (eds) Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 2001.

Jaanus, S., Chatham, J. and Lesher, G.A. Anti-Inflammatory Agents. In Clinical Ocular Pharmacology, 4th Edition, Bartlett, J.D. and Jaanus, S. (eds) Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 2001.

Jaanus, S. and Lesher, G.A. Anti-inflammatory Agents. In Clinical Ocular Pharmacology, 3rd Edition, Bartlett, J.D. and Jaanus, S. (eds) Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 1995.

Lesher, G.A. and Gunderson, G.G., Continuous drug delivery through the use of disposable contact lenses. Optom. Vis. Sci. 70:1012-1018, 1993.

Lesher, G.A. A quick reference to the top prescription drugs: their mechanisms and ocular toxicities. 2nd Edition, 1992, ICO Press, Chicago.

Lesher, Gary A., General Principles of Local Anesthetics. In Onofrey, B.E. (ed): Optometric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, chapter 53, pp 1-13. J.B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia, PA. 1991.

Chino, Y.M., Smith III, E.L., Wada, H., Ridder III, W.H., Langston, A.L., and Lesher, G.A. Disruption of binocularly correlated signals alters the postnatal development of spatial properties in cat striate cortical neurons. J. Neurophysiology 65:841-859, 1991.