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About the ICO

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) represents and serves professional associations of ophthalmologists throughout the world.

The International Council of Ophthalmology works with ophthalmologic societies and others to enhance ophthalmic education and improve access to the highest quality eye care in order to preserve and restore vision for the people of the world.

World Alliance for Sight
The ICO is working to build a “World Alliance for Sight” by leading, stimulating, and supporting the efforts of ophthalmologic societies, eye departments, and related organizations worldwide to enhance ophthalmic education and eye care.

Through this collaboration, the ICO focuses on three main program categories:

Sign up to receive WOC program updates and two monthly e-newsletters, ICO Insight and the Ophthalmic Educators

The World Ophthalmology Congress® of the ICO is held every other year and is the longest continuous international medical meeting, first convened in 1857. 

WOC2018 logo

WOC2018 will take place June 16-19 in Barcelona, Spain.

Selected ICO Member societies participate in each WOC, and revenues from WOCs support ICO programs in eye care, leadership and society development, and education.

The History of the ICO

The roots of the ICO date back to 1857 when 150 ophthalmologists from 24 countries convened in Brussels for the first World Ophthalmology Congress. Participants in the Congress founded the ICO in 1927 in Scheveningen, Holland.

History of International Ophthalmology and the ICO

International ophthalmology dates back to 1857. The International Ophthalmology 1982-2007 offers a condensed view of international ophthalmology preceding 1982, while focusing on more recent key considerations and decisions at annual Council meetings, the development of the Assessments (now Examinations) and ICO Fellowship Programs, and other important ICO milestones.

International Ophthalmology 1982-2007 was written by ICO Immediate Past President G.O.H. “Fritz” Naumann, MD, with contributions from former Director for Fellowships Balder Gloor, MD and Director for Assessments Peter Watson, FRCOphth.

The online version of International Ophthalmology 1982-2007, by G.O.H. Naumann, Balder P. Gloor, and Peter G. Watson, is available at

ICO Notes, ICO Member Mailings
To communicate with our members more efficiently, in 2014 we decided to replace the monthly ICO Notes with targeted mailings on specific topics, news, and events of importance to ICO Member societies.

ICO Board members will send emails directly to ICO Members and the other top leaders of societies when relevant, rather than on a scheduled basis. The ICO's hope is that this new streamlined communication will provide needed information,and offer a more open line of dialogue.

View past issues of ICO Notes.

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