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Certificate Extension Policy

Effective 10/18/2018

American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) diplomates with certificates expiring in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and who are current in all Maintenance of Certification (MOC) activities, are eligible for a temporary extension to their time-limited certificate in order to successfully complete 3 years of the Quarterly Questions program. 

This policy applies only to diplomates who are:

  • Affected by the transition to the Quarterly Questions program (defined as possessing a certificate expiring in 2018, 2019, or 2020).
  • Without a successful Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge Examination within their current 10-year certification period.
  • Current on all MOC requirements and actively participating in the Quarterly Questions program. Active participation in Quarterly Questions is defined as having attempted all available years of questions.

Eligibility Details

Diplomates with certificates expiring in 2018, 2019, and 2020 are considered eligible for a 1-year extension of their certificate. The ABO will conduct periodic status reviews of expiring certificates and will grant automatic extensions if, prior the certificate end date, all of the following criteria have been met:

  • Professionalism & Professional Standing: Hold a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine at all times
  • Lifelong Learning & Self-Assessment: Attest to the completion of 250 CME during the 10-year cycle
  • Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment & Skills: Active participation in Quarterly Questions (defined as having attempted all available questions)
  • Improvement in Medical Practice: Completion of an activity from the Improvement in Medical Practice menu.
  • Current with all MOC Fee Payments

Diplomates who do not meet eligibility criteria may request an extension by emailing the ABO at prior to their certificate expiration date. Requests are reviewed weekly with approval granted on a case-by-case basis.

Extension Duration

After an initial 1-year extension, the ABO will determine whether an additional 1-year extension is necessary to meet MOC requirements. The ABO will not extend any diplomate’s certificate by more than 2 years.

At the close of the extension period(s), diplomates who successfully complete all required activities will receive a new 10-year time-limited certificate, effective January 1 of the following year. Diplomates who do not complete MOC by the close of the extension period(s) will no longer be board certified and will be listed on the ABO website and its directories as not certified.

Diplomates whose certification has lapsed may obtain a new certificate by completing all remaining MOC requirements within 3 years of the expiration of their most recent certificate (including any extensions granted). To learn more about the Certificate Reinstatement Process, please visit: /maintain-certification/enroll-in-moc/certificate-reinstatement-process/.