Ioannis Pallikaris received his medical degree at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1972) and completed his residency and PhD thesis at the University of Zurich, Switzerland (1981). During these years, he also completed graduate studies at the University of Munich (Institute of Physiological Optic, 1978), at the University of Vienna (Ultrasound in Ophthalmology, 1979), and at the University of Zurich (Department of microvascular surgery, 1980). Subsequently, he received an honorary consultant position at the Hippocration Hospital of Thessaloniki, Greece (1981-1986), and became Director of the Ophthalmology Clinic Hospital of Chania, Greece (1986-1988).
He became an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the School of Medicine, University of Crete in 1988 and has been a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Crete since 1996.
Over the course of the years at the University of Crete, he became the founder and director of the Vardinoyannion Eye Institute of Crete (VEIC, 1989) and Institute of Vision and Optics (IVO, 2005), chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Crete, and the director of the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital of Heraklion, Greece (1996-2004).
Ioannis Pallikaris was the rector of the University of Crete from 2004 to 2011, while he is also a Board member of ESCRS from 2011.