American Board of Optometry wins recent lawsuit

September 1, 2012

Although the American Board of Optometry (ABO) was declared the winner in the recent American Optometric Society's (AOS) lawsuit against the organization, AOS President Pam Miller, OD, FAAO, JD, doesn't consider it a loss.

Key Points

Although the American Board of Optometry (ABO) was declared the winner in the recent American Optometric Society's (AOS) lawsuit against the organization, AOS President Pam Miller, OD, FAAO, JD, doesn't consider it a loss.

Instead, she said the AOS won significantly by keeping an injunction from 2011 in place-the ABO cannot claim that board-certified optometrists are any more qualified or competent than their colleagues who are licensed but have not sought certification.

Failing to prove that board certification offered a competitive advantage, could potentially cause economic damage and represented value to consumers beyond a medical license, AOS did not receive an injunction prohibiting the ABO from calling its program "board certification."

"To be considered an optometrist, you need to maintain a state license, and by being acknowledged by the American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO) is in effect already being certified," Dr. Miller said.

On the other side, the ABO said the AOS alleged that using "board-certified" was confusing to the public, an issue with which the Court disagreed.

"Board certification can demonstrate that optometrists are enrolled in a lifetime commitment to maintaining competence," Dr. Cockrell said. "The program is voluntary and serves as a measuring stick: 'Am I current?'"