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About the Board

A Legacy of Leadership

The American Board of Ophthalmology is an independent, nonprofit organization responsible for certifying ophthalmologists (eye physicians and surgeons) in the United States. Founded in 1916, the ABO was the first American Board established to certify medical specialists and is one of 24 specialty Boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Until ophthalmologists led the call for higher standards in the practice of medicine, patients had no way of knowing if their specialists received critical training in that specialty area of medicine. The founders of the ABO recognized that providing quality eye care was only half the battle -- they needed to create a way for patients to be able to recognize it.

Our Role in Health Care Quality

Today, the ABO certifies ophthalmologists who have completed an accredited ophthalmic residency training program and demonstrated the required level of knowledge, skills, and experience in ophthalmology. Our Continuing Certification (formerly MOC) program for board-certified diplomates promotes lifelong learning and quality improvement through a series of accredited educational courses, rigorous knowledge examinations, and hands-on activities that require practice performance measurement.

We publish certification and Continuing Certification participation information to help patients make more informed decisions when choosing a doctor. Diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology are also listed in The 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.

While there is a lot we do in the name of elevating the quality of ophthalmic care, some things we do not do include: dispensing medical advice; recommending a particular ophthalmologist over another ophthalmologist; setting requirements for membership to hospital staffs; or defining the scope of ophthalmic practice. The certificate of the ABO does not confer any academic degree, legal qualifications, privilege, or license to practice ophthalmology.

We take patient feedback very seriously, and we'd love to hear your stories about how a board certified ophthalmologist has helped you or your family member! But concerns about a physician's performance should be directed to your state's medical licensing board for formal review. After investigating the matter, the state will share their findings with us for further action. State medical boards are the only entities that can restrict or prevent a physician from continued practice.

Learn More

For more information designed for the public and patients, or to verify your doctor's certification, click here. Governance and policy information for the organization, along with detailed information about our certification and Continuing Certification programs is also available.