Does Board Certification and Fellowship Training Matter?

The Eye Institute physicians are board certified AND fellowship trained. What does this mean and should it matter to you as a patient?

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 sub-specialty from a fellowship program.

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 re-certification requirements ensure that the doctor stays abreast of the latest developments within their specialty.

What does “Fellowship trained” mean?

Physicians that are fellowship trained have received their training in general Ophthalmology and have gone through additional training (usually 1 to 2 years) in their specific area of specialty such as Cornea, Retina, Glaucoma, Orbital & Oculoplastics and Pediatrics. The Eye Institute is the only Ophthalmology group in Northeast Oklahoma that has board certified AND fellowship trained physicians in all of our specialties.