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Your ophthalmologist should be board certified in clinical ophthalmology by the American Board of Ophthalmology, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Web site.
A listing of "board certified" on an ophthalmologist's Web site or a certificate on his wall gives you added reassurance that you're in good hands--especially since the American Board of Ophthalmology is the oldest specialty board in America, founded in 1917.
The board certification process involves a rigorous two-part exam, affirming that your ophthalmologist is:
* trained in how to treat chronic and acute eye diseases in a clinical environment
* experienced in follow-up treatment of eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy
* trained in sub-specialties such as pediatric ophthalmology or cornea and external disease, for example
* licensed to perform refractive surgery (a sub-specialty)
* able to prescribe contacts (which you want to get rid of)
Not all ophthalmology specialists are board certified and board certification isn't required to practice ophthalmology. However, board certification protects you, the refractive surgery patient, so you need to check with the American Board of Ophthalmology or check the credentials on your ophthalmologist's Web site. Look for "board certified" first. As of 2006, all ophthalmologists who are board certified must also pass the American Board of Physician Specialties recertification process.