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FAQs FAQs 2 MOC Continuing Medical Education
Office Record Review Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge (DOCK) General Questions MOC Enrollment


What is the intent of the ABO's Maintenance of Certification process?
The intent of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) is to provide assurance to the public and to the medical profession that certified physicians continue educational activities, keep current in information and skills, and practice in a contemporary and safe manner. The evaluation is designed to assess the knowledge, experience and skills requisite to the delivery of high standards of patient care in Ophthalmology.

What is the MOC process?
MOC consists of the four components listed below:

  1. Evidence of Professional Standing
  2. Evaluation of Practice Performance
  3. Evidence of a Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Self Assessment
  4. Evidence of Cognitive Expertise
Click here for a full description of the MOC components.

What are my requirements and timeframe for completing MOC?
Diplomates who wish to maintain their Board certification must complete the MOC requirements in specified timeframes during the ten year cycle of their current certificate. While transitioning from recertification to MOC, the components and their required timeframe are slightly different for each group of diplomates. Please refer to the MOC timeframe chart to determine the specific requirements for each group of diplomates. Click here for timeframe chart.

How do I access the ABO's MOC Components?
To access the interactive features, users must login with an ABO-designated username and password. The ABO mails usernames and passwords to candidates and diplomates as they are eligible to register or apply for current Board activities. Usernames and passwords are mailed only to diplomates who are eligible to participate in the current MOC components. To find out your username and password, click here.

How do I obtain my Username and password for use in accessing the Online MOC Center?
The ABO mails usernames and passwords to candidates and diplomates as they are eligible to register or apply for current Board activities. To find out your username and password, click here.

Why did the ABO change from a recertification process to a Maintenance of Certification process?
In March 2000, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) issued a statement expressing the commitment of the 24 medical specialty boards to the process of MOC to expand on and replace recertification. The change represents the ABO's commitment to better fulfill its mission to serve the public by improving the quality of ophthalmic practice through a process of certification and maintenance of certification that fosters excellence and encourages continuous learning.

MOC is a direct response to the rapidly changing environment of medical practice, increased demand by patients for consistent quality medical care from their doctors and formation of healthcare industry and payer-based organizations aimed at measuring physician competence. These organizations are reacting to a perceived lack of quality care that may lead to the profession's loss of freedom to set its own professional standards while also burdening already busy physicians by fragmenting the processes of quality care measurement. MOC strives to provide a continuous, streamlined process that will support a physicians' goals of staying current in information and skills while also providing them with a valuable certification of continued quality care.

Why did the MOC examination change from an open-book take-home exam to a proctored, computerized exam? 
The ABO is greatly concerned about the impact of its decisions regarding the MOC process on the lives and careers of ophthalmologists. The decision to change from an open-book, take-home examination to a closed-book, computerized proctored examination was based primarily on the recognition of the value of the certificate within the public domain. Public concern about the continued competence of board certified physicians has prompted significant change not only within the medical specialty board arena, but throughout the medical community. Many state medical licensing boards now require Board certification or recertification within the last ten years in order to obtain licensure by endorsement in that state and other organizations are now recognizing the value of recertification. In addition, state medical licensing boards are increasingly asking for a proctored examination. For more information on the computer-based MOC examination, click here

Can I participate in MOC if my certificate is not time-limited?
While the ABO does not require diplomates who hold non time-limited certificates to participate in MOC, the ABO does believe in the value of MOC and encourages all diplomates to participate. Since 2001, it has been ABO policy that all newly elected Board Directors become recertified upon acceptance of the appointment. As of January 2006, all ABO Board Directors have either recertified or are currently participating in the MOC process.

Diplomates who hold a non time-limited certificate (certified prior to 1992) and who wish to voluntarily participate in MOC must submit an enrollment form to initiate participation in MOC. Non time-limited diplomates who complete the MOC process will receive a recertification certificate valid for ten years in addition to their non time-limited certificate, which will not be affected.  MOC enrollment forms are accepted February-May 1 of each year.

Will my certificate expire earlier if I complete the renewal process before it expires?
No. Requirements for certificate renewal can be achieved before or after the expiration date of the time-limited certificate; renewal is for ten years from the expiration of the previous certificate or ten years from the date of completion of the requirements, whichever is later.

Why do I have to recertify and my colleagues do not?
The ABO recognizes the disparity between those diplomates who hold non time-limited certificates and those who must recertify every 10 years. Prior to 1992, the board issued certificates that did not have an expiration date and is legally constrained from imposing one now. The ABO believes in the value of maintenance of certification for all diplomates. Today, only time-limited certificates are issued by the 24 primary or conjoint boards.

FAQs FAQs 2 MOC Continuing Medical Education
Office Record Review Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge (DOCK) General Questions MOC Enrollment
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