Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Determining Your CME Requirement

Certificate Dates CME Requirements
MOC Track 1: Your current Certificate expires on or prior to  12/31/2020:
An average of 25 CME per year over the ten year certificate cycle is required (totaling 250).
MOC Track 2: Your current Certificate expires on 12/31/2021 or later: Beginning in 2012, newly certified diplomates and diplomates starting a new MOC cycle will participate in MOC an annual basis and must obtain and submit twenty-five CME credits per year through the ten-year MOC Cycle.

Eight of the annual 25 CME required must qualify as Self-Assessment CME.

One activity must qualify as Patient Safety.

Finding Acceptable CME for ABO Maintenance of Certification

Credit acceptable for ABO MOC must be Category 1 obtained from ACCME-accredited CME providers. You should look for the ACCME accreditation statement on CME activity materials and brochures distributed by organizations providing the activity:

"The (name of accredited provider) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians."

For jointly sponsored activities:

"This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of (name of accredited provider) and (name of non-accredited provider). The (name of accredited provider) is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians."

Defining Self-Assessment CME  

Diplomates in MOC Track 2 must submit 25 CME annually. Eight of the 25 credits must be self-assessment CME (SACME).The ABO provides three pathways to assist diplomates in fulfilling the self-assessment component of CME requirements. 

  1. A menu of qualifying activities available online;
  2. Waivers for completing certain ABO MOC activities;
  3. Submission of activities outside the standard SACME definition for consideration by the Board.

In order to be eligible for SACME credits, an activity must meet the following three criteria:

  1. The activity must have a learning objective that is relevant to the physician's ophthalmic treatment of patients.
  2. The activity must provide Category 1 Credit obtained through an ACCME-accredited CME provider.
  3. The activity must have a self-assessment component.

Therefore, the diplomate must be able to answer affirmatively to the following three questions when determining potential CME eligibility:

  1. Is a learning objective specified that is relevant to the physician's ophthalmic treatment of patients?
  2. Does the activity provide Category 1 Credit obtained through an ACCME-accredited CME provider?
  3. Is achievement of the learning objective assessed?

Self-assessment activities take many forms. For example, CME activities involving question and answer exercises which evaluate understanding of the activity's subject matter would qualify.  CME activities that involve review of practice and documented self-reflection would also qualify. Conferences or monographs that include a post-test or quiz, are also acceptable forms of SACME. Access to these types of activities can be found though medical societies and groups, and through the SACME Menu available to diplomates.

The ABO believes that self-assessment promotes active learning and has designed its core MOC requirements to also meet the self-assessment activity requirements.  Completion of two ABO self-assessment tests (PORT) will waive the requirement for 8 CME in self-assessment activities.  Additionally, completion of the ABO practice improvement module will waive the annual 8 SACME requirement.  Please note however that these waivers apply to the self-assessment aspect only; diplomates who choose to fulfill their self-assessment requirement this way must still submit 25 CME annually.

Diplomates should pursue whatever self-assessment is most relevant to their practice. Diplomates may submit details of activities they feel should qualify for self-assessment to The Board will consider submissions and notify the diplomate of the decision.

Locating Acceptable Patient Safety Activities

The ABO has incorporated a Patient Safety activity as part of the MOC requirements for diplomates in MOC Track 2. There is currently an ABO Patient Safety Module in development that will meet this requirement. The module will be available to diplomates free of charge beginning mid-2014.

An alternative pathway for completing this requirement is The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) Patient Safety Curriculum (note: this link takes you to the ABMS page about the NPSF module; the link to the module is located at the bottom of that page.) The NPSF Patient Safety Curriculum is a 10-module, online course intended to equip the learner with the foundational knowledge necessary to understand the context, key principles, and competencies associated with the discipline of patient safety, and how these tenets and skills are applied in everyday practice. It takes the learner through the history of the patient safety movement, describes the science and disciplines used in this work, presents current best practices, and outlines strategies for overcoming barriers to safe care. The curriculum modules are aligned with educational standards for patient safety competencies and are anchored by didactic audio/PowerPoint lectures given by NPSF board members and members of the Lucian Leape Institute at NPSF. The modules also include reading materials, videos, and module quizzes to focus learners on key patient safety principles. This knowledge is imperative for those working in, or in partnership with, the health care system of today.

Diplomates in MOC Track 2 have until December 31, 2015 to complete an acceptable Patient Safety activity to satisfy this requirement.

The ABO continues to work both internally and with external organizations to provide access to patient safety activities that will be relevant to our diplomates' practice, meaningful to their treatment of patients, and provide an opportunity for improved patient care outcomes.

Questions about the requirement can be directed to

Submitting CME to the ABO

There are several ways to submit CME credits:

  • Enter course information into your CME tracking tool online at any time
  • Use an excel spreadsheet  to record course information, following the ABO template and formatting instructions. Email the sheet as an attachment to
  • Transfer your American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) CME Credits from AAO's CME Central to the ABO. Go to your CME Central page and click 'Transfer CME to ABO'.  Please note this only transfers AAO CME; non-AAO CME that appears on your AAO transcript will NOT transfer. You may enter these non-AAO CME credits using your CME tracking tool.