Illinois College of Optometry

Illinois College of Optometry
Type Private
Established 1872
Administrative staff
Students 616 : with 162 graduates in 2003
Location Chicago, Illinois United States

The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) is a 4-year private optometry college located in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Graduating approximately 160 optometrists a year, it is the largest optometry college in the United States and is the oldest continually operating educational facility dedicated solely to the teaching of optometrists.[1] The College complex incorporates more than 366,000 square feet (34,000 m2) including an electronically enhanced lecture center, library, computerized clinical learning equipment, and recreational and living facilities.


The front of the RC.

The Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) is the principal clinical training facility for ICO students and is located adjacent to the College. In addition to primary eye care, sub-specialty care is available including glaucoma, retina-vitreous, neuro-ophthalmic disorders, cornea-external disease, orbit-oculoplastics, pediatrics/strabismus-amblyopia and low vision rehabilitation. The IEI serves as a center for clinical research involving eye and vision problems including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cornea and contact lenses, and pediatric eye disorders.


Dr. Arol Augsburger serves as the current President of the Illinois College of Optometry and is the school's fifth President. Before his appointment as President of ICO, he served as Interim Provost of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as Dean and Professor of the UAB College of Optometry, and as a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Dr. Augsburger is a Life Member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, an institution from which he graduated cum laude in 1971 with his Doctor of Optometry degree. He has been honored as the Optometrist of the Year in the states of Ohio and Alabama, as well as the American Optometric Association's Optometrist of the Year. He has served as President of many national professional associations like the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.


The student population consists of a diverse group which primarily originate from local areas such as Chicago, Illinois and surrounding states (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana), as well as significant groups from Canada and California, and a number of international students.


The Adams Center.

The Illinois College of Optometry awards the degrees of Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and Bachelor of Science in Visual Science (BSVS). The College also offers a joint program with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Chicago to obtain an O.D. Degree and a Master of Science (M.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. In addition, the college also offers a joint program with the Illinois Institute of Technology, where a student may obtain a BS in biology from IIT and an O.D. degree from the Illinois College of Optometry.

Notable alumni

Building History

The Pilgrim Baptist Church, next to the Illinois College of Optometry, had a fateful incident in 2006, where it burned down. An elementary school across the street had to be evacuated, and the nearby Illinois College of Optometry building had windows destroyed by the high temperatures of the fire. Cars parked alongside the church were "virtually incinerated."


  1. "Rich Tradition - ICO".
  2. "Iverson, Donald L. 1923". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  3. "WHITTAKER, Robert Russell, (1939 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 4, 2012.

External links

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