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It is part of human nature to desire to engage in meaningful work.  For most of us, we often define meaningful, at least in part, as the opportunity to make a difference.  We find great satisfaction in knowing that we are able to contribute to a greater good, to advance knowledge, to provide service and to change lives for the better.

ICO has had the privilege to do just that over these last 150 years.  As part of the Bronzeville community in Chicago, we have had the opportunity to be a part of a historic neighborhood that has had tremendous impact on the culture of Chicago.  This neighborhood has given us the Pulitzer winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, civil rights icon Ida B Wells and the music of Louis Armstrong alongside the famous Frank Lloyd Wright row houses.

For ICO, our ability to serve the community of Bronzeville has provided a world class opportunity for our students to engage in complex patient care throughout their training.  Many of our patients have underlying health conditions that need to be managed alongside of their eye health needs.  Every day, these patient cases advance the knowledge of our students.  In turn, we are able to provide access to health care for individuals who often find themselves uninsured or under-insured.  At the Illinois Eye Institute, we strive to meet their needs regardless of ability to pay.

As an academic institution, we have the privilege of preparing students to become leaders in the profession of optometry in any mode of practice they may wish to pursue.  By having world-class clinical opportunities without having to leave our building, our students are prepared to manage complex cases and help their patients connect the dots to other needed health resources.

Optometry is a profession that allows for the opportunity to make a difference each day:  from assisting the grade school child with their vision needs to the vision challenges that accompany aging and everything in between.  Our students have the opportunity to partner with our patients to improved health outcomes by helping identify sight compromising effects of unmanaged hypertension and diabetes.  Every day, with every patient and every student, we have the opportunity change lives for the better and make a difference.

I invite you to come see for yourself the ICO difference.  We look forward to partnering with you to achieve your goals and help you find ways where you, too, can be a part of making a difference every day.

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Dr. Mark Colip '92


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