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Read the new Ophthalmology article in press, COVID-19 and the American Board of Ophthalmology: When the Best-Laid Plans Go Awry, by ABO CEO Dr. George B. Bartley, which chronicles the ABO's response to the pandemic.

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Candidate Information for Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Candidate Communication 05-22-20

Dear Candidates,

Seven weeks after the American Board of Ophthalmology announced its commitment to bring you a Virtual Oral Examination option (VOE20) during this calendar year, I'm pleased to report that we are on schedule to achieve that goal. After two successful small scale field tests, the next major step is a "dress rehearsal" with a large supporting cast a week from today, May 29. If all goes well, during the week of June 1, we will provide you with the dates and details for the VOE20.

Specifically, by Friday, June 5, you'll be notified via email about whether you've been selected by lottery for the pilot administration, when the pilot and other examination administrations will be offered in 2020, how to indicate your preferred VOE20 opportunity to us, and what you can expect from your virtual examination experience.

Once again, on behalf of all the ABO Directors and staff, I want to thank you for the support you've demonstrated for the board certification process and for the patience and understanding you've exhibited during this unexpected and challenging transition.

Several of our past and present Public Directors, who represent the voice of patients seeking ophthalmic care, also wanted to send you their words of thanks and encouragement. I hope you will appreciate meeting them in this week's video:

What's the "One Last Request" in the subject line?
We're asking for your help to produce the best possible candidate information and instructional materials for the VOE20. By May 29, please email with the questions (in writing or in a short video clip) that you'd like to see the ABO address.

Best wishes for a safe and relaxing Memorial Day.

George B. Bartley, MD
Chief Executive Officer 

Email Archive:

Diplomate Information for Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

American Board of Ophthalmology Statement (Updated 5/10/20)

During this unique and challenging time in American medicine, the American Board of Ophthalmology remains dedicated to its mission to serve the public and the profession. We are prepared to be flexible in support of all board-certified ophthalmologists whose practices and personal lives have been changed in unexpected ways by the spread of COVID-19.

  • *New* Read the new Ophthalmology article in press, COVID-19 and the American Board of Ophthalmology: When the Best-Laid Plans Go Awry, by ABO CEO Dr. George B. Bartley, which chronicles the ABO's response to the pandemic.
  • *New* Read ABO Diplomate and Examiner Dr. Kelly Green’s rallying cry for ophthalmologists about being a super transformer in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Many of our colleagues requested that we release Quarterly Questions content ahead of schedule so that they can use unanticipated downtime productively. The second quarter’s installment, originally slated for release on April 1st, was distributed by email on March 24th.
  • With the help of many dedicated ophthalmologist volunteers, we released new COVID-19-related article-based material for Quarterly Questions on March 31st.
  • Additional questions written for articles on patient safety, quality improvement, professionalism, and a range of subspecialty topics, were released on April 30th.
  • Nearly 200 diplomates have embraced a new option for creating Improvement in Medical Practice projects that are designed to improve the care of patients with COVID-19 and to protect the health of ophthalmologists and their staff. Completion earns credit for one Improvement in Medical Practice activity.
  • Newly approved CME activities focused on the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the CME Finder Menu. These activities may be counted toward the ABO's requirement for lifelong learning and self-assessment.

Providing Flexibility for Changing Circumstances

We understand that, in many cases, the day-to-day activities and priorities of our diplomates have shifted.

  • Extensions may be requested by those whose certificates expire on December 31, 2020 to allow additional time to complete Maintenance of Certification (MOC) activities. Email to submit a request.
  • Similarly, the ABO will consider a reduction or waiver until 2021 of the annual $200 fee for those currently suffering financial hardship. Requests must be submitted to

Please watch your inbox, Diplomate Digest, and the ABO website for further updates, and let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Should you find yourself with additional time and would like to get involved with the work of the ABO as a volunteer, please email us.

Informational Resources

Patient Information for Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

For information on how to protect yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the following resources: