In addition to a top-notch clinical education, ICO students also receive a very thorough and broad foundation in the basic sciences. The basic biomedical courses are concentrated in the first two years of the program and are intended to lay the groundwork for students to master the wide range of skills necessary to provide full-scope primary eye care. As well as human anatomy, immunology, and pharmacology, these courses include interactive laboratories and cover optics, ocular anatomy and physiology, visual perception, neuroanatomy, sensory aspects of vision and color vision.

Moving into the clinical program, students gain high-quality experiences in primary eyecare, pediatric optometry, binocular vision, low vision rehabilitation, contact lenses, emergency care and ocular disease. Overall, the clinical program is student-centered, beginning in the lecture-laboratory setting and advancing to a one-to-one relationship between student and patient. As the student progresses through the professional program, patient contact increases.

Clinical rotations at the Illinois Eye Institute and at more than 150 affiliated clinical sites provide the volume and variety of patient care experiences needed for the development of a well-rounded clinician. Below is a year-by-year breakdown of the required curriculum; please note that elective courses are also offered each year.