The Institute of Community Ophthalmology is the brain child of a group of visionary, aware of Community Ophthalmic problems in Bangladesh created with the idea to impart training to doctors in Community oriented Ophthalmology along side clinical Ophthalmology to meet the demand of the country.This led to the establishment of Institute of Community Ophthalmology (ICO) in 1981, initially as an affiliated institution, eventually became a constituent part of University of Chittagong. The institution is housed at Chittagong Eye Infirmary and Training Complex campus because of the availability of necessary infrastructure and logistic services and supports particularly the clinical facilities. A separate Governing Body headed by Vice chancellor, University of Chittagong is at the helm.

The institute is headed by a full time director who looks, after the routine and day to day academic and clinical activities. There are full time and part-time faculties. Prof. F.A. Billson, Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Sydney University is closely associated with the doctors training programsince 1979 and assisted with the creation of the Institute of Community Ophthalmology. The Institution is also fortunate to have a group of part-time faculties of International repute of which Prof.R.Pararajasegaram (Swizterland) and Prof. Rogers Pierson (USA) are mentionable.

The Institute runs regular post-graduate courses in Ophthalmology leading to Diploma in Community Ophthalmology, in which besides doctors from within the country, also from abroad enrolls.

Since 2010, DCO courses are affiliated by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka and are run by its academic rules and regulations. ICO is also a centre for “International Council of Ophthalmology” Examination for the last 15 years.

Institute of Community Ophthalmology (ICO) has also started Bechelor of Science in Optometry (B.Optom) since 2010. This is a 4 years honours course under University of Chittagong.