Since 1916, more than 30,000 ophthalmologists have challenged themselves to meet the rigorous certification standards established by The American Board of Ophthalmology. The first medical specialty board founded in the United States, the American Board of Ophthalmology awards the only medical specialty certificate in ophthalmology recognized by both the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
Certification is granted to ophthalmologists who meet a series of accredited medical training requirements in ophthalmology, sign a practice pledge indicating their intent to practice with compassion, integrity, and respect for human dignity, and complete an intensive evaluation process which includes two examinations: a Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) and an Oral Examination.
Physicians who meet all of the requirements for initial certification become diplomates of the Board and earn a certificate valid for a period of 10 years. Since the early 1990s, all Diplomates have been required to actively maintain their certificate through a lifelong learning and practice improvement process currently known as Maintenance of Certification in order to extend the validity of that certificate.