The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) is an organization, not an actual physical location, that (through the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology® or ABVO®) has established certifying criteria for Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (DACVO®) and residents in training to become Diplomates. To become a DACVO, a person must first graduate from veterinary school, attain a minimum of 12 months full-time clinical practice as a veterinarian, and complete a 3-year or longer residency training program in veterinary ophthalmology under the supervision of at least one DACVO. A number of the resident’s credentials are monitored by committees of the ABVO before, during, and after the residency training program is completed. The applicant then is permitted to take the ABVO certifying examination. The exam is a multi-day process consisting of multiple written and practical components. After achieving all of these criteria, a veterinarian is recognized as a "Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists" and is board-certified in veterinary ophthalmology. No-one may use this title unless they have successfully completed all of these steps. 

The purpose of the ACVO is to advance ophthalmology in all phases of veterinary medicine. 


  • provide an organizational structure to facilitate efficient exchange of ideas of interest to specialists in veterinary and comparative ophthalmology, 
  • encourage education, training, and research in veterinary ophthalmology,
  • establish standards of training and experience in this field and to recognize individuals who have fulfilled such standards.


The American Society of Veterinary Ophthalmology was organized in 1957, by a nucleus of clinicians interested in ophthalmology; only a few had advanced graduate training. Society membership grew rapidly in the next few years, including a sufficient number of persons with graduate training from medical and/or veterinary schools to make possible the establishment of a specialty board for certification in ophthalmology.

In 1967, Dr. William G. Magrane called together an organizing committee for the proposed American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO). The precedent for specialty colleges had been set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1951, when the American College of Veterinary Pathologists was established. The first meeting of the proposed ACVO was held March 13, 1967 at the Animal Medical Center, New York City. Other members of the organizing committee were Drs. Roy Bellhorn, Seymour Roberts, Lionel Rubin, and Samuel Vainisi. Formal application was submitted to the AVMA in June 1969. Probationary acceptance was followed by full approval in 1974.

In the fall of 2013 the ACVO underwent a transformation and 'reorganized' its membership and credentialing functions. The ACVO Members voted to create the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology which essentially works as a super-committee of the ACVO, handling all credentialing related functions. The ABVO has a separate Charter, policies and board members.


*DIPLOMATE MEMBERS (Voting members)
Diplomate Members: 456 (living)
Emeritus Diplomates: 23 (living)
Retired Diplomates: 8

*Note that members must first be board certified to join.

Honorary Members: 6

(Boarded Diplomates who have chosen to not be ACVO Members)

Inactive Diplomates: 13


Practicing in:
Academia: 76  
Government: 1
Industry: 4
Other: 34
Practice: 341