Overview of Certification

The American Board of Eye Surgery (“ABES”) was formed in 1985 to meet the growing concerns of ophthalmic surgeons for quality care and assessment in eye surgery. ABES’ introduced its first certification sub-specialty certification program in 1989 with the following mission statement:

To operate an objective, voluntary, peer-based examination, assessment and certification process for ophthalmic surgeons to assist them in providing the highest quality ophthalmic surgical care to their patients.

The certification programs offered by the American Board of Eye Surgery are developed in conjunction with Professional Examination Service of New York, New York. Each program consists of a multi-dimensional approach.

  • Part I – During the Application and Records Review process candidates must submit an application for certification containing information about his/her behavior, license and certification.
  • The candidates must record and submit specific data from a consecutive series of surgical cases as follows: cataract/implant and refractive surgery (incisional keratotomy and LASIK), 50 consecutive surgical procedures; 24 consecutive surgical procedures required for certification in penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). These surgical records must be audited by an ABES’ on-site observer.
  • The candidate must be observed by an on-site observer performing a series of surgical procedures, varying depending on the applied-for sub-specialty area as follows: cataract/implant (3 procedures); radial keratotomy (4 straight RK procedures, including 1 with T-cuts, and 2 enhancements); LASIK (5 procedures and 1 enhancement).
  • These procedures must be evaluated by a panel of peers trained in evaluating video procedures in a confidential manner.

Certification by the American Board of Eye Surgery signifies that the recipient has fulfilled the Board’s requirements in the applied-for area and is evidence that the recipient’s qualifications in the sub-specialty practice are recognized by his/her peers. Certification by the Board is not a requirement to practice eye surgery and the Board does not confer, or purport to confer, any degree, legal qualifications, privileges or licenses to practice. Certification programs are voluntary. The Board does not in any way seek to interfere with or restrict the professional activity of any duly-licensed ophthalmologist because he/she is not Board-certified.

If you are interested in applying for certification by the American Board of Eye Surgery, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be a graduate of an American Board of Ophthalmology-approved medical school.
  • Hold a current unrestricted license to practice medicine and surgery in one of the states, districts, territories of the United States or a province of Canada, or hold unrestricted privileges to practice medicine and surgery in the United States Armed Forces.
  • Possess high moral, ethical and professional qualifications as determined by the Board.
  • Be certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
  • For certification in cataract/implant, radial keratotomy, or LASIK, must have performed a minimum of fifty (50) surgical procedures with three month follow-up (in the previous twenty four month period) in the applied-for program; twenty-four (24) surgical procedures with a twelve month follow-up for certification in penetrating keratoplasty.
  • Must commit to accumulating at least twenty (20) hours of continuing medical education (CME) credits each year, for each program in which you are certified, after you have been certified by the American Board of Eye Surgery.
  • Click here to view the Candidate’s Booklet of Information, which contains all requirements, procedures and policies of the American Board of Eye Surgery.

The cost for certification in each program is $2,100 plus expenses of the on-site observer. The American Board of Eye Surgery is a not-for-profit organization and the fees of candidates are used solely for actual expenses incurred in the certification process.

For more information, please e-mail us at quality@aces-abes.org or contact Gilbert Wheeler at (979) 229-7123.