An optometry specialty consists of an identifiable and distinct subset within the practice of optometry whose practitioners have a level of knowledge, skill and competence significantly exceeding that of the general practitioner of optometry.
A specialty must have a sound scientific and educational foundation as documented in professional and technical ophthalmic literature and a significant number of optometrists practicing the specialty on a regular basis in settings of appropriate equipment and patient demographics for the specialty
The required specialty competence is achieved through successfully completing an Accreditation Council for Optometric Education (ACOE) accredited, or other, postgraduate clinical residency training program in the specialty of 12 full months, or longer, that is recognized by ABOS as appropriate for the specialty.
The specialized competence must then be documented by passage of a national written examination in the specialty prepared and administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO), or an equivalent acceptable to ABOS.
There must be an independent, non-profit specialty board for the specialty that issues certification in the specialty that ABOS determines has no conflicts of interests with residency training programs, the provider of the specialty examination or other optometry societies or trade associations. The specialty board is solely responsible for the management of the specialty.
The specialty must be of such value that its practitioners improve the health and welfare of the public through their specialized competence.