About ICO

International Council of Ophthalmology represents the world’s largest and most influential community of eye physicians, surgeons and eye care professionals

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) represents and serves our members which include national, regional and subspecialty ophthalmology societies throughout the world and is the only ophthalmology organization in official relations with the World Health Organization.

The roots of the International Council of Ophthalmology date back to 1857 when 150 ophthalmologists from 24 countries convened in Brussels, Belgium for the first World Ophthalmology Congress. Participants in the Congress founded the ICO in 1927 in Scheveningen, Holland. The ICO World Ophthalmology Congress® is held every other year and is the longest-continuous international medical meeting.

Our mission is to work with the world’s ophthalmology societies and other stakeholders to enhance ophthalmic education, improve access to the highest quality people-centred eye care, and to preserve and restore vision for the people of the world. We bring ophthalmologists and their teams together to learn, share, inspire and engage in excellence and innovation. In particular, we aim to strengthen eye care capacity in low- and middle-income settings to address inequities and pressing public eye health needs to secure eye health for all.

The ICO is building a “World Alliance for Sight” by leading, stimulating, and supporting the efforts of ophthalmology societies and our partners worldwide including eye care providers, universities and institutes, NGOs, and related organizations, to enhance ophthalmic education and access to high-quality eye care.

Through this collaboration, the ICO focuses on three strategic priorities:

  • Education
  • Membership
  • Advocacy


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