European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists


The ECVO examination committee

The ECVO examination is organised by a committee comprising experienced ECVO Diplomates from different countries with extensive experience of organising and developing undergraduate and post graduate examinations. Current members are: David Gould (chairman), Charlotte Keller, Christine Heinrich, Sabine Chahory, Bernhard Spiess, Ernst-Otto Ropstad, Barbara Braus and Marta Leiva.

Overview of the ECVO examination

The examination comprises a theoretical part (multiple choice questions and slide recognition section) and a practical part.

The multiple choice question (MCQ) examination consists of 200 questions designed to test theoretical knowledge in the field of veterinary ophthalmology, as well as in associated sciences, including applied diagnostic imaging, cytology, microbiology, histopathology, immunology, molecular biology, genetics and comparative ophthalmology. Questions are based on papers from selected journals, books and classic articles as listed in the ‘ECVO residents reading list’.
The slide recognition examination consists of Power Point-projected images of 100 clinical cases, designed to test clinical diagnostic and descriptive skills in the field of veterinary ophthalmology as well as in associated sciences, including applied diagnostic imaging, cytology, microbiology, and histopathology. Written questions based on these cases require single word or short answers.
The practical examination consists of three parts (stations), as below. Each part is assessed by at least two examiners. 45 minutes per station is allowed.
Clinical examination: Several (usually two) veterinary patients are examined. Small animal, equine, production animal, or exotic animal cases may be encountered. The candidate’s diagnostic and interpretive skills are evaluated, and their clinical findings are discussed with the examiners.
Adnexal surgery: One or more surgical adnexal procedures, or parts thereof, are performed. The candidate’s adnexal surgical skills are evaluated.
Intraocular surgery: One or more surgical intraocular procedures, or parts thereof, are performed using an operating microscope. The candidate’s intraocular surgical skills are evaluated.
Candidates should be sufficiently proficient in English to be able to read, write, and understand veterinary publications and examination questions written or spoken in that language. The examination is structured to minimise any disadvantage of non-native English language speakers. The College allows the candidates the use of a non-medical dictionary for language problems during its examinations. Medical dictionaries or textbooks are not allowed.

Prior to the examination, all candidates are required to sign an agreement of confidentiality not to divulge the details of the MCQ or slide recognition questions to a third party, as inevitably questions may be recycled for future examinations. However, as the questions are constantly being replaced and updated, only about 60% of questions are re-used in consecutive years.

Notification of results

The examination committee meets immediately after the examination to review the candidates’ results. Candidates are normally informed of their result via email within seven days of completion of the examination, via the chairman of examiners and/or the ECVO secretary.