Timeline

1916

Over two cold December days in Memphis, Tennessee, 10 pioneering physicians assembled at the University of Tennessee Medical School to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience in ophthalmology—and set the precedent for excellence in American medicine. The written examination, held on day one, required candidates to answer a series of questions in embryology, anatomy, pathology, and diseases of the eye. On the second day, candidates participated in an oral clinical-based examination using actual patients from the school’s medical clinic. Final grades were then calculated based on a combination of written and oral examination scores, laboratory experience, and previously reviewed case reports.

1917

The Board is incorporated under the laws of Minnesota, the home of Board Secretary, Dr. Frank C. Todd (pictured). Recognized as one of the most eminent oculists and aurists in the Northwest, Dr. Todd also served as chief of the EENT Department at Minnesota State University. Later this same year, Dr. Todd would resign as Secretary-Treasurer to join the armed forces as a Colonel.

1917

The Board is incorporated under the laws of Minnesota, the home of Board Secretary, Dr. Frank C. Todd (pictured). Recognized as one of the most eminent oculists and aurists in the Northwest, Dr. Todd also served as chief of the EENT Department at Minnesota State University. Later this same year, Dr. Todd would resign as Secretary-Treasurer to join the armed forces as a Colonel.

1918

Dr. William H. Wilder, a native of Kentucky, assumes the role of Secretary-Treasurer, and holds this position through 1935, during some of the Board’s most formative years. An original member of the Joint Committee of the Board’s three founding societies, Dr. Wilder played an important role in the formation of the Board and was a staunch supporter of the concept of specialty certification.

1918

Dr. William H. Wilder, a native of Kentucky, assumes the role of Secretary-Treasurer, and holds this position through 1935, during some of the Board’s most formative years. An original member of the Joint Committee of the Board’s three founding societies, Dr. Wilder played an important role in the formation of the Board and was a staunch supporter of the concept of specialty certification.

1919

Could you pass the 1919 written examination for certification? Test yourself below:

  • Embryology: Describe the development of the eyelids.
  • Anatomy: Describe the lachrymal apparatus.
  • Physiology: Describe the accommodation of the Eye and the method of effecting it.
  • Pathology: Describe the pathology of hypopion keratitis as produced by the pneumococcus.
  • Diseases: What is interstitial keratitis? Name the causes. Give the period of life at which it occurs and the changes in the eye that may accompany it.

If you could, you’d be in the company of renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Lucien Howe, who took the exam this year.

1920

By 1920, word is spreading about the new board certification process for ophthalmology and applications begin to increase. The Board surpasses the 200-certificate mark.

1924

Lea M. Stelzer becomes the first administrative staff member hired by the Board. Until her retirement in 1967, she is the only staff resource for the organization. Born in Germany in 1896, Ms. Stelzer had always wanted to study medicine. Although her dream  never came to fruition, through the American Board of Ophthalmology, she was able to play a significant role in the history of the profession of ophthalmology. Ms. Stelzer remained secretary and registrar through five leadership changes, moving with the Board Office across the country from the midwest to Maine.

1924

Lea M. Stelzer becomes the first administrative staff member hired by the Board. Until her retirement in 1967, she is the only staff resource for the organization. Born in Germany in 1896, Ms. Stelzer had always wanted to study medicine. Although her dream  never came to fruition, through the American Board of Ophthalmology, she was able to play a significant role in the history of the profession of ophthalmology. Ms. Stelzer remained secretary and registrar through five leadership changes, moving with the Board Office across the country from the midwest to Maine.