American Board of Clinical Optometry
"Confidence in Optometric Competence"
Founded in 2009, the American Board of Clinical Optometry (ABCO), under the direction of its Board of Directors and its advisory board, is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization. ABCO certifies the successful completion of formal education, training, and national board testing in the practice of optometry. In addition, ABCO promotes and certifies the on-going commitment to life-long learning through its Maintenance of ABCO Certification process, of Optometrists in the United States and Canada.
The defining characteristic of ABCO certification, compared with other optometric certification programs, is that the ABCO assumes licensed Doctors of Optometry, through the education and testing required to be licensed, have already demonstrated their initial competence and qualifications for certification as a specialist in eye care, and is designed to provide all such qualified optometrists an opportunity to participate in a MOC process which meets or exceeds the requirements expected of any third party payers such as Medicare. This results in a process which is significantly less expensive for doctors to participate in and avoids any suggestion that Doctors of Optometry are not qualified or need to prove that they are qualified.
In developing the ABCO Certification and Maintenance of ABCO Certification programs the ABCO sought to satisfy the following criteria and goals:
- Recognize the quality and rigors of optometric education, National board testing, and the competency of licensed optometrists
- Respect the authority of state licensing and regulatory boards to determine optometric competency standards
- Provide a credible, defensible, and attainable process for demonstrating maintenance of the knowledge and skills required to provide quality eye care to the public
- Provide a process that tracks the standards for maintenance of certification established by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
- Provide a dynamic and continuous maintenance of certification process, moving away from the concept of periodic "re-certification"
- Provide an honest, transparent, unobtrusive, and cost-effective means for optometrists to complete the certification and maintenance of certification processes
- Respect traditional optometric values
The American Board of Clinical Optometry does not set the criteria for licensure, competency to practice optometry, or the scope of optometric practice. These are determined by the laws of each state. The ABCO also does not grant an academic degree, licensure to practice, or establish requirements for membership in hospital staffs or participation in third party insurance plans. The ABCO does not warrant or otherwise make any representation as to the specific quality of care any particular Fellow will provide at any particular time or with respect to any particular patient.