A Word from Our Chair

I would first like to recognize the hard work and commitment of those at the American Optometric Association. By now, I am sure you have heard that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall for the online vision screening test formerly known as Opternative. This follows years of intense scrutiny and pressure from the AOA. We are grateful for their efforts to ensure patients have access to medically recognized eye health care and to protect them from services that may put their health at risk.

The future will certainly bring additional challenges, but also opportunities to expand and further define optometric practice and specialties beyond what previous generations of optometrists ever thought possible. While optometric board certification is not a magic bullet, it will play a vital role in how optometry is perceived by and continues to integrate itself into our evolving healthcare system.  ABO’s board certification and maintenance of certification programs were developed to be substantially equivalent to the American Board of Medical Specialties. The ABMS has set the standard for certification in medicine. Other healthcare professions, such as dentistry, podiatry, nursing, orthodontics and pharmacy, have followed this model, and it is now the accepted standard in physician certification and recognition of a specialty practice.

Consider what being an ABO Board Certified Diplomate means:

  • Passage of a rigorous, psychometrically sound written exam.
  • Enrollment in a four-part Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.
  • MOC activities that measure competencies built upon evidence-based guidelines, national clinical and quality standards, and specialty best practices.
  • Demonstration of lifelong learning and self-assessment
  • Continuous assessment of knowledge, judgment, and skills.
  • Evidence of improved practice patterns.
  • Recognized by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Recognized by third party payers.
  • Recognized by employers and healthcare systems.
  • Recognized by the public.
  • Recognized within the profession.

We are constantly striving to make board certification a meaningful but manageable process for our busy Diplomates. Many of you have commented on how beneficial the new CAP assessments have been at maintaining and building new knowledge. We want you to be as successful as possible so don’t worry if you have not passed the first couple of assessments. For those who do not pass at least 7 assessments in your 3-year cycle you will be given a chance to retake them during a remediation year. So stick with it!

As always, please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Erich A. Hinel, OD, MS
Chair, American Board of Optometry