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In the Clinic
at Illinois College of Optometry

If there is one thing that makes us unique, it’s our clinic.
Your experience at Illinois Eye Institute will prepare you incredibly well for any patient you will treat as a Doctor of Optometry. In the IEI, you will experience new and challenging cases every day — whether basic eyecare or rare diseases. 
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You will serve a community in need

We are in Chicago and on the South Side for a reason: this is where we can have the biggest impact. Here you will not only read about sight-threatening conditions but see them in real life every day in the clinic.

Opportunities During Every Optometric Year

At nearly every stage of your optometric journey there will be research opportunities for you. You can work with faculty, residents and our attendings on cutting-edge treatments. Not only that, there are awards and fellowships to help fund your reserach. No matter where you turn at ICO, research opportunities abound. 

Four Years in Clinic


Clinical Assistant Program

We get you into clinic your very first year. You'll start with clinic observations during fall quarter and during your Spring quarter will participate in the examination of patients alongside third years in Primary Eyecare.

In your second year, you’ll put the skills you’ve learned into action and perform a complete eye exam on your own!

After working with a partner during the fall and winter quarters, in spring quarter you will preform eye exams on your own.

Patient Care Program

You will spend third year in Primary Eyecare and specialty clinics like Cornea and Contact Lens. In Primary Eyecare, you will build on your last two years of experience while rotating through Vision Rehabilitation, Cornea/Contact Lens, Pediatrics, and Glaucoma units at the Illinois Eye Institute.

Specialty Rotations

Clinical Methods & Procedures IV

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Externship Rotations

Your fourth year is all clinical. This is the year that will help you define what you really want to do as an optometrist when you graduate. Students rotate through the IEI and speciality externships.


Serve a community in need.

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Our Community Commitment

Our commitment to the Bronzeville neighborhood (and those neighborhoods that surround us) goes back generations.

Summer opportunities in year one.

As one of the largest optometry schools in the nation, we have many optometric specialists. Here you will have the ability to pursue your passions -- whether low vision or pediatrics.
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Your impact will reach well beyond Chicago

As one of the largest and oldest optometry schools in the nation, ICO offers externships all over the country and the world.
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Become an expert in your field

Our graduates are not only some of the best- prepared and best-trained optometrists, but every year we offer several post-graduate residency programs to deepen recent ODs' optometric knowledge.
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