Course Overview

Every course takes you closer to OD.

ICO’s courses are sorted into two major types- Basic Vision Science and Clinical Education. Both categories are focused exclusively on the student of optometry. Basic Vision Science courses are concentrated in the first two years of the program. They cover optics, ocular anatomy and physiology, visual perception, neuroanatomy, sensory aspects of vision, color vision, as well as human anatomy, immunology, and pharmacology.

Our Clinical Education courses are designed to develop clinical and interpersonal skills beginning in the lecture-laboratory setting and progressing to a one-to-one relationship between student and patient. During the first two years of study, students receive clinical training designed to acclimate them to the patient care environment. Initial experiences in the Community Screening Program, the Fait Family Eyewear Center, and the Clinical Assistant Program provide a foundation for direct patient care in primary eye care. The second and third year programs more fully integrate students into direct patient care activities. The fourth year is devoted to patient care as a full-time activity.

Classes are divided into the following categories:

Basic Health & Vision Science (BVS)

These courses provide the basic science knowledge needed to build upon in future years. For example: anatomy, physiology, optics, and vision science. These courses are taken primarily during the first and second years of the program.


Primary Optometric Practice (POP)

This category teaches the skills used in a comprehensive eye examination. The courses begin right away in first year, and continue through the second year. In general, skills are taught in the order they will be administered during an eye examination.


Specialty Optometric Practice (SOP)

This portion of the curriculum emphasizes eye examination skills particular to optometric specialty areas: contact lens, pediatrics, and vision rehabilitation. These courses are taught in the second and third professional years.


Ocular Disease (OCD)

These courses provide the student knowledge regarding ocular and systemic disease that is needed to adequately care for patients. These courses run through the second and third years of the program.


Patient Care (PCE)

PCE hours are spent rotating through our various clinical departments: Primary Care, Eyewear Center, Contact Lens, Vision Rehabilitation, Pediatrics/Binocular Vision, Chicago Public Schools, Advanced Care, and Urgent Care. These rotations begin during the first professional year and become more intensive as the students progress.


Practice Management Ethics (PME)

Finally, this category explores the ethical, legal, administrative, and clinical core issues of practice management to assure that the optometrist provides the health care consumer with quality, accessible, and cost-efficient eye health and vision care.  These courses cover the professional ethics and responsibilities, professional fundamentals, knowledge and skills, financial components, and administrative requirements necessary for the practice of optometry and office management.