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Purpose of the ABCMO
The American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides recognition and certification of US licensed optometrists who have chosen to specialize in medical optometry after receiving their professional degree and state license to practice. Certification is achieved by successfully completing an ACOE accredited one-year postgraduate residency training program in medical optometry, passing the written ACMO examination testing advanced competence in medical optometry, documenting two years practicing medical optometry immediately prior to application and other criteria of examination deemed appropriate.

What is Medical Optometry?

Medical Optometry encompasses the medical diagnosis, management and treatment of primary and secondary diseases and disorders of the human eye, adnexa and visual tracts.

Value of ABCMO Certification

ABCMO certification provides the public, credentialing committees and fellow medical practitioners a national, uniform indicator that an optometrist possesses specialized, advanced knowledge, skills and competence in the practice of medical optometry as governed by their state license of record.

NOTE: Applicants can use the NBEO online Score Request Form to have encoded official ACMO scores transmitted to ABCMO. For more information click here.

Presentation to ARBO

Last June, ABCMO was invited to brief the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry. At that time, Dr. Myers stressed that "board certification" for general practice optometrists was not required, proposed or contemplated by any health care organization and, specifically, was not part of the recently passed "Health Care Reform Act of 2010". He explained this was because the Joint Commission On Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations affirmed, in 1986, that while specialists are expected by accredited healthcare facilities to be board certified in their specialty, defined-license, independent prescribing practitioners such as dentists, optometrists, audiologists and psychologists are eligible to be granted those privileges supported by their degrees and state practice acts and need no additional credentials to be granted medical staff membership and general practice clinical privileges.

This reflects the fact board certification is used to denote advanced competence in a specialty of the profession in which a practitioner is licensed and this advanced competence is achieved by additional, accredited, post-graduate clinical residency training, passage of a written examination testing that advanced competence in the specialty followed by certification by a specialty board. Thus there is no need, or precedence, for requiring additional credentials of those engaged in the general practice of a defined-license, independent prescribing profession as they are within the authority of their respective state practice acts.

To download the power point slides of the Presentation to ARBO - click here

Application Deadlines Extended for CP2 and CP3

Advisory Board Actions
At its 2011 annual meeting in November in Boston during the AAO meeting, the ABCMO Advisory Board approved the following actions:

  • Career Paths 2 and 3 deadlines for applications were extended to August 1, 2013. The Board felt insufficient time (18 months) had been given for these career paths and the customary "start-up phase" for other specialty boards in the past had been 3 years.

  • Application fees of $175 for Career Paths 1 and 2, and $275 for Career Path 3 were established, effective January 1, 2012,

  • Expiration dates for Certifications to change from 7 to 10 years after date of issuance to comply with common practices of other specialty boards, effective retroactively.

  • Study suggests the Maintenance of Certification process for re-certification every 10 years will be based upon meeting existing state re-licensing CE hourly requirements and re-passage of the ACMO examination with the annual or bi-annual CE hours to be in medical optometry and COPE approved.

Mullen Slideshow - New Educational Model
Unlike medicine and dentistry, optometry education does not receive federal support for clinical education. This new educational model would award the OD degree in 3-years, federal-supported residency training in the 4th year prior to licensing and then board certification in general practice. This would require less student debt; clinical training facilities would receive federal support; and graduates would be board eligible in general practice without additional training.
A New Educational Model
Information on Specialty Certification
Application Deadlines Extended:

At its last meeting, the ABCMO Board voted to extend deadlines for Career Paths 2 & 3 applications to May, 2013, to raise fees to $175 for Career Paths 1 and 2 and to $275 for Career Path 3 and to extend expiration dates of initial certifications from 7 to 10 years. The ABCMO Constitution will be amended to reflect these changes.

  1. National Board of Examiners in Optometry White Paper on Board Certification. (pdf)

  2. AOA Commission on Optometry Specialties Status Report. (pdf)

  3. AOA Commission on Optometry Specialties Final Report. (pdf)

  4. AOA House Rejects Specialty Certification. (pdf)

  5. Intorduction to Wallis Editorial on Specialty Certification. (pdf)

More Information
AOS vs ABO - Judge Matz's Ruling. (pdf)

Additional ABMCO Information
ABCMO Basics (pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)
Requirements for Certification (pdf)
Certification Fees (pdf)

Candidates may request the required self-report for their application from the National Practitioner Data Bank by clicking — here.

ACMO Update

The National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) is pleased to announce that registration is open for the ninth administration of the Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry (ACMO) exam. ACMO 2013 will be administered as a computer-based test at PearsonVue centers across the country on Friday, June 7, 2013.
Candidates may register for ACMO in the NBEO website by clicking the NBEO link,

Overview and History of ABCMO (pdf)
Organizations and Board Certification (pdf)

ABMCO Materials/Media
ABCMO Brochure (pdf)
   ABCMO in RO(pdf)

Other Resource Links
American Board of Medical Specialties

American Council on Optometric Education

Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry

National Board of Examiners in Optometry

Optometric Residency Matching System

VA Optometry Service

Optometric Retina Society

Optometric Glaucoma Society

Trends in Optometric Education and Clinical Training

National Practitioner Data Bank

New Model for Student Clinical Education

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