In the early 1900s, a number of leaders in American
ophthalmology raised the question of the importance of adequate
training and testing of the qualifications of specialists in
ophthalmology. Discussions stemming from this concern culminated in
1914 with the formation of a joint committee among the American
Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, the American
Ophthalmological Society, and the Section on Ophthalmology of the
American Medical Association to consider ophthalmic
The report of this committee in 1915, led to the establishment of
the American Board for Ophthalmic Examinations on May 8, 1916.
Following the annual Academy meeting in Memphis, the Board examined
eleven candidates on December 13 and 14, 1916, at the University of
Tennessee Medical School.
The Board was incorporated May 3, 1917. The name was changed from
the American Board for Ophthalmic Examinations to the American
Board of Ophthalmology in 1933. This was the first American
Specialty Board to be established, with the American Board of
Otolaryngology following in 1924 and the American Board of
Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1930. The early history of the
American Board of Ophthalmology has been described in History
of the American Board of Ophthalmology, 1916-1991 (Shaffer,
Robert N., 1991).
Today, the American Board of Ophthalmology is overseen by 18
Board Directors who are clinicians and academicians with specific
ophthalmologic skills and a broad geographic distribution. In
addition to the 18 Board Directors, the Board is also served
by two Public Board Directors. Board Directors are chosen for a
four-year term and one additional four-year term is permitted.
Diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology are listed
inThe Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical
Specialists, published by Marquis Who's Who. This is the authorized
publication of the 24 recognized specialty Boards that certify
physicians in medical and surgical specialties.