What is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?

A veterinary ophthalmologist is a board-certified specialist who focuses solely on the medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the animal eye. These individuals carry the title of Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (DACVO). There are only 401 active diplomates in the world. In order to become a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology, certain requirements must be met. Following completion of an undergraduate degree, the specialist must:

  1. Complete a four year program in veterinary medicine from a college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and attain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM or VMD).
  2. After receiving the DVM, one or more years must then be spent in advanced training in medicine and surgery, generally accomplished through completion of a rotating small animal internship.
  3. The individual must then be accepted into a three year approved residency program in comparative ophthalmology.
  4. After completion of residency training, the individual is then a candidate eligible for board certification. 
  5. Board certification is conferred after successful completion of a rigorous three day exam, including written and practical testing of diagnostic and surgical skills.