While it might seem quite obvious to say this about the eyes, good eyesight is a key factor in being able to process and interact with the world on a daily basis. In order to keep the eyes healthy and free from any eye conditions or diseases, patients visit an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. There are a few differences between the two types of doctors:
FYI…There are also opticians that are not eye doctors. Instead, they fill the prescription for eyeglasses given to patients by an eye doctor.
According to their website, the American Board of Ophthalmology was founded in 1916. They serve as “an independent, nonprofit organization responsible for certifying ophthalmologists (eye physicians and surgeons) in the United States. 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 and the American Medical Association.”
As mentioned above, the ABO is one of 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). These boards work together to establish as well as maintain common standards for doctors to want to achieve board certification and/or maintain their current board certification status. Some of the most common eye procedures that ophthalmologists treat include:
As mentioned above, the American Board of Ophthalmology was actually the first medical specialty board that was founded in the United States. In order to be certified by the ABO, ophthalmologists must sign a practice pledge that shows their intention to practice their medical specialty with “compassion, integrity and respect for human dignity”. They must also complete an evaluation process that includes two examinations. The first exam is a Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) and the second one is an Oral Examination.
Once the physicians meet all of the requirements for their initial certification, they become a diplomate and earn a certificate from the American Board of Ophthalmology that is valid for 10 years. All of the diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology must work to actively maintain their certification through “a lifelong learning and practice improvement process currently known as Maintenance of Certification in order to renew their certificate.”
Patients that are interested in making sure their doctor of choice is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology have a number of options. They include:
It should be noted that the only information that will be shared by the American Board of Ophthalmology is whether or not a physician is certified or recertified by the ABO.
Maintaining certification is important for the patient as well as the doctor. The Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process is designed to assure the public, as well as the medical profession, that any physicians that are deemed to be board-certified continue their education activities as well as maintain current skills and information about their medical specialty. In addition, the public can be assured that the doctor is practicing “in a safe and contemporary manner”. The evaluation of the doctor is performed to assess the experience, knowledge and skills that are necessary to maintain the high standards of patient care in the field of ophthalmology.
Once a patient makes the decision to undergo the desired changes to their eyes, they should visit a doctor that is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Patients can be assured that the board-certified doctor is knowledgeable about the latest medical information and trends regarding surgical treatment of the eyes. They can also ask the doctor for “before and after” photos that show previous examples of their work on actual patients. The doctor will set realistic expectations for the final results as well as inform the patient about the best medical options to achieve their desired results.