An ophthalmologist is a medical specialist who concentrates on diagnosing and treating diseases of the eye. Unlike opticians and optometrists, they are medical doctors. Ophthalmologists can provide an array of services ranging from eye exams to surgery.
What Does “Board-Certified” Mean?
A board-certified ophthalmologist is one who has received a certificate from the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), which is the oldest medical specialty board in the United States. It has been providing certificates to qualified ophthalmologists since 1916. Those certificates are the only ophthalmology certificates recognized by both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
The certification process requires the ophthalmologist to take and pass an oral exam and a written qualifying exam. The ophthalmologist also has to sign a pledge in which they promise to practice with integrity, compassion and respect for the patient’s dignity. Since the 1990s, board-certified doctors, also known as diplomates, have been required to update their certifications every ten years. That requirement ensures that the doctor follows and knows the advances and changes in their specialty.
What Does the Certification Process Involve?
In order to even attempt the certification process, the ophthalmologist must have completed medical school, an internship and their residency, and they must have their medical license. The certification process generally takes 18 months to two years or even longer. During that time, the certification candidate will either be working in a practice or they will be receiving advanced training in a subspecialty from a fellowship program.
The candidate will have to send in applications requesting permission to take the exams. The written exam covers such topics as anatomy of the eye and surrounding area, various eye diseases and medical procedures. The certification candidate has to pass the written exam in order to qualify for the oral exam. During the oral exam, the candidate will have to answer questions about what they would do in order to diagnose or treat a given condition. The candidate would also be tested on their professionalism, bedside manner and communication skills.
Why is Board Certification Important?
Board certification proves than a doctor has superior knowledge and skill. It also demonstrates that they have undertaken extra training to provide their patients with the best possible care. The recertification requirements ensure that the doctor stays abreast of the latest developments within their specialty.
At Live Oak Ophthalmology in Wilmington, we are proud to have both a board-certified cataract, cornea and glaucoma surgeon and a board-certified ophthalmologist. Whether you are in need of LASIK eye surgery, cataract surgery or a cornea transplant, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified doctors.