Improving Patient Care, One Certificate at a Time

The American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) 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 whether physicians who claimed an area of specialty medicine had actually received critical training in that area. The founders of the ABO recognized that advocating for high quality eye care was only half the solution. They needed to create a tool for patients to identify specialty expertise in their physicians. With that, the concept of certification was born.

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. The Maintenance of Certification (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. The ABO also publishes certification and MOC participation information to help patients make more informed decisions when choosing a doctor.