ACVO EDUCATION POSITION STATEMENT
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is a worldwide leader in the specialty of veterinary ophthalmology, recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The ACVO and its members set the standard in continually advancing the scientific and clinical aspects of this discipline, granting funding for new research in animal eye diseases and treatments, providing education and communication between those in the field, and establishing rigorous criteria for specialist training and certification.
In order to become a Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist, an individual must undergo considerable additional education after graduating from veterinary school, typically starting with a 1-year rotating or specialty internship, followed by a 3- or 4-year clinical residency program. Residency training is intensive, and includes not only scholarly study but also experience in medical and surgical ophthalmology. At the conclusion of this training, ethical standards must be met and credentials must be accepted by the ABVO before the certifying examination may be taken. This examination takes place over multiple days and consists of multiple parts, including image recognition, an academic written portion, ophthalmic examination, and surgery. Microsurgery, the surgery of minute structures which requires an operating microscope, is an important section of the examination, as so much of the delicate work of eye surgery must take place under an operating microscope to be done properly. Only after all of these requirements are met may one become Board Certified.
Veterinary ophthalmologists are committed to providing the very best in patient care. The level of excellence set by the ACVO extends to both the exam room and the operating room. Microsurgery on the cornea or intraocular structures demands a level of skill that only comes with time, experience and training. This applies to acquiring the appropriate technical proficiency to perform microsurgery, and also the clinical judgement needed to identify when it is needed, or to deal with potential complications. Competence with special instrumentation and the necessary equipment is also needed. Just as you would likely prefer an experienced microsurgeon if you needed corneal or intraocular surgery, so might you prefer it for your pet. That is why the ACVO has put forth the following Education Position Statement:
"The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists believes it is in the best interest of veterinary patients and their owners that any ocular surgery necessitating microsurgical techniques on animals be performed by, or under the supervision of, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist."
This Statement should not be considered a legal or medical requirement, nor does the statement have punitive ramifications. However, the ACVO believes that veterinary patients deserve the best care delivered to the highest standards whenever possible. That is why the ACVO strives for excellence in all aspects of veterinary ophthalmology, and continues to earn respect around the world.