Professional Credentials & Membership Definitions
 

"Diplomate of the ACVO" - A person who has graduated from a college of veterinary medicine, completed a 1 year internship in medicine and surgery, and successfully completed a 3-year American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ABVO)-approved residency in ophthalmology under the supervision of a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. For a person to become an ACVO Diplomate,  his or her credentials are reviewed and must be accepted by the ABVO Credentials Committee for the applicant to be allowed to take the ABVO certifying examination (“Boards”). The exam is a three section, four day process, consisting of written, practical, and surgical portions. Finally, after passing all of the above criteria, the veterinarian is recognized as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® or in short, they are now board certified in veterinary ophthalmology. This individual may carry the certification "DACVO" or "Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists". Only board certified persons may call themselves a "veterinary specialist", a "specialist in ophthalmology" or an "ophthalmologist". 

This individual is not automatically a member in good standing of the ACVO, dues and adherence to an Ethics Code is required to call oneself a 'Member of the ACVO'. This individual may conduct OFA, CERF or EERF exams

"Member" of the ACVO - A boarded ACVO Diplomate who is also a current member of the ACVO in good standing. They have not only passed boards but choose to be a member of their professional community and adhere to the high ethical standards demanded by their peers. This individual may conduct OFA, CERF or EERF exams.

"Retired Member" of the ACVO - A Member in good standing, who works less than 8 hours per week, may submit a request to the Board of Regents. This membership category does not require a membership vote. The Retired Member will pay reduced dues of 50% of he current dues rate. This membership category still benefits from receiving a complimentary copy of the Veterinary Ophthalmology Journal, is encouraged to vote and may serve on committees. Requests for this status must be sent to the ACVO Director, addressed to the Board of Regents. This individual may conduct OFA, CERF or EERF exams.

"Emeritus Diplomate" of the ACVO - The ACVO Policies & Procedures states that, “Emeritus Membership is available to Diplomate Members who have been members of the ACVO for a minimum of 30 years, and have made sustained and significant contributions to the College. Candidates for Emeritus Membership must be nominated in writing by at least 3 ACVO Members (including justification for the nomination), or nominated by the Board of Regents“. Emeritus Diplomates are not required to pay the annual membership dues fees but their benefits may be limited. This individual may conduct OFA, CERF or EERF exams.

"Honorary Member" of the ACVO - The ACVO Policies & Procedures states that, “Honorary Member status may be conferred upon an individual who has achieved distinction in comparative ophthalmology or who has made significant contributions to veterinary ophthalmology“. This person is typically not a veterinary ophthalmologist and the designation is solely honorary. There are very few Honorary Memberships granted.

Board Eligible – This is a designation not recognized by the ACVO or American Board of Veterinary Specialists and should not be used by veterinary professionals. If someone is seen using this terminology it is being incorrectly used, against procedure, but may represent a person who has completed their residency training but has not yet taken or successfully passed the examinations to become board certified. These veterinarians may not call themselves or imply that they are "veterinary ophthalmologists", "specialists" or use the terminology "board-eligible". All of these phrases are considered confusing and not allowed by the American Board of Veterinary Specialists (a committee of the American Veterinary Medical Association") and the ACVO.

These individuals may only use the following terminology to describe their credentials, "practice limited to diseases of the eye" or "practice limited to diseases of the animal eye".

"Practice limited to diseases of the animal eye" - A person who has successfully completed their residency training but has not yet taken or successfully passed all three examinations to become board certified. They are using the correct title. These individuals may not call themselves or imply that they are "veterinary ophthalmologists", "specialists" or use the terminology "board-eligible". All of these phrases are considered confusing and not allowed by the American Board of Veterinary Specialists and the ACVO.

Resident - A person serving an ACVO-approved 3 year residency in veterinary ophthalmology at either a veterinary teaching hospital or at a boarded ophthalmologists' clinic under the supervision of ophthalmologists. One who has completed a Residency in Ophthalmology is not a board certified specialist until they pass the board examination.

Credentials Verification - "Is my veterinarian board certified?"

You may wish to check our list of Active ACVO Member Diplomates to verify that your veterinarian is indeed a board certified specialist. In most cases if the veterinarian is not listed on our site, they are not ophthalmologists, specialists or board certified. If they are not listed in this referral area but claim to be a boarded ophthalmologist, there is a chance they could be boarded but are not ACVO members in good standing. Check this comprehensive list of boarded Diplomates to be certain. You may contact the ACVO office if you are unsure or would like clarification.

General practice veterinarians are able to assist with general ophthalmic problems but may choose to refer a client if the diagnosis or treatment are outside of their area of expertise. Some institutions require a referral, but many practices will see a patient if contacted directly for a consultation and appointment. Check with your local veterinary ophthalmologist’s office to be sure. A good resource is also to check information on our page called "Does my pet need a veterinary ophthalmologist?"   

If you suspect someone is promoting themselves as "board certified", a "specialist in veterinary ophthalmology", an "ophthalmologist" or "Diplomate" of this College, and they do not appear to be board certified by the ACVO, please contact our office with this information. This practice may be in violation of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Board of Veterinary Specialists and/or the ACVO's Code of Ethics.

Credentialing outside of the United States

There are several colleges and/or societies around the world who certify veterinarians. If you would like to locate a veterinary ophthalmologist outside of the U.S. this list of organizations may be a good place to start.
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