View the latest updates from the American Board of Ophthalmology COVID-19 Information Center.

Candidate Email 04-09-20

Dear Candidates,
Thanks to all of you who have written or called to express support for the ABO’s announcement last week to convert the postponed 2020 Oral Examination to a format that can be administered remotely. We appreciate your encouragement, understanding, and patience.

What’s New

  • The ABO’s information technology team is investigating various platforms for the VOE20 (Virtual Oral Examination – 2020) and is encouraged by the possibilities available for the delivery of a secure virtual examination. For instance, there may be opportunities to learn from how schools have quickly developed alternatives to in-person instruction and interaction.
  • For decades, the Oral Examination has been administered by ophthalmologist volunteers who pay their own way to the exam venue in addition to leaving their practices for several days. Their support of the VOE20 will be key, and we are pleased with their robust response to participate both in the preliminary field-testing of the exam and in its subsequent administration.

What’s Stayed the Same

  • We will notify you when potential dates for the administration of the virtual examination have been determined.
  • Your seven-year board eligibility window following graduation from residency will be extended by one year if you are unable to sit for the VOE20.
  • Paid examination fees will be credited to the next administration; there is no need to re-register.

What You Can Expect Next

  • I will continue to keep you apprised of progress as the ABO undertakes what amounts to a sea change in its 104-year history. You are making history.
  • Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some background about the history and construction of the Oral Examination: why it was developed, what it is designed to assess, how it is scored, and why you can be confident that the online version will remain reliable, fair, and valid.
  • The bottom line: any ophthalmologist who successfully graduates from an ACGME-accredited residency deserves an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to their patients and the profession through board certification—and we will continue to work to make this possible.

George B. Bartley, MD
Chief Executive Officer