EBO exam harmonises European standards

Record-breaking 667 candidates step up to take comprehensive exam

Dermot McGrath

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Christina Grupcheva and Wagih Aclimandos

At a time when European political integration is under pressure from all sides, the European Board of Ophthalmology diploma (EBOD) examination continues to showcase the positive virtues of European cooperation and collaboration, according to Professor Christina Grupcheva FEBO, President of the EBO.

“We are proud to say that the EBOD continues to go from strength to strength. We are here to celebrate the achievements of the EBO comprehensive exam, which was created in order to harmonise ophthalmic education and training standards in Europe. Since Peter Eustace pioneered the first exam in Milan 24 years ago, we have seen interest and participation in the exam increase every year, so there is clearly a viable demand there, which is being fulfilled,” she said.

Held every year in Paris, Prof Grupcheva explained that the EBOD examination is designed to assess the knowledge and clinical skills requisite to the delivery of a high standard of ophthalmic care both in busy hospitals and in remote clinical practices.

This year’s comprehensive exam drew a record-breaking 667 candidates from 27 European countries.

“The exam is designed to promote optimal standards of care in ophthalmology by ensuring high levels of knowledge and training. While the EBO is also responsible for accreditation for training centres, as well as providing fellowships and monitoring European continuous medical education (CME), the examination is really the core of what we do,” she highlighted.

Candidates who succeed in passing the examination receive an EBO certificate or Diploma. The latter is awarded only after recognition of specialist status in the home country of the candidate and is complemented by the right to use the title “Fellow of the European Board of Ophthalmology (FEBO)” as affiliation.

Dr Saski Imhof FEBO, Chair of the EBO Education Committee, paid special tribute to the 318 examiners from 27 countries who put the candidates through their paces over the two parts of the examinations.

“No exam can take place without examiners and we are extremely grateful for the dedication and expertise of our team of examiners. The quality of the exam has really improved over the years and that is really thanks to the organisation and also the motivation of the examiners,” she said.

Prof Grupcheva thanked the French Society of Ophthalmology (SFO), which hosts the exam every year in conjunction with its annual meeting, as well as Théa Laboratories for their active support to the examinees over many years.

Prof Grupcheva proudly announced that from 2020, candidates will have a second opportunity to sit the exam in Germany, as part of the German Ophthalmological Association (DOG) annual meeting.

“This makes sense because of the phenomenal growth of the EBO over the past few years. We are going to run a second site together with the DOG, starting at the Berlin meeting in September 2020. This will give young European ophthalmologists the same standard for both examinations, but with double chances of success,” she said.

The EBO exams this year also included the second subspecialty paediatric and strabismus examination, with seven candidates from five different European countries participating. The exam is primarily intended for those who have recently completed one year of fellowship training in strabismus and paediatric ophthalmology or equivalent training and are starting independent practice.

EBO now validates several subspecialty examinations including glaucoma and cataract and refractive surgery, with more expected to follow in the future.