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Many western countries have formed training assessment organizations (also known as Boards or certification boards) in order to raise the quality of residency training and coordinate standardization between their various educational institutions. Therefore, as you know, the TOA Certification Board (TOCB) was established in 2001 and is currently working to improve vocational and educational standards and to contribute to the mission of improving and maintaining a high level of quality in ophthalmology health services.

What are the duties and activities of the TOA Certification Board (TOCB)?
Since 2001, the Turkish Ophthalmological Association and TOCB have collaboratively established various commissions and prepared the following items to be used in all ophthalmology clinics in order to facilitate training standardization:
1. Resident logbook,
2. Core education (curriculum) programs,
3. Required equipment for any clinic providing ophthalmology training.

On the other side, the TOCB is responsible for assessing and certifying ophthalmologists’ professional knowledge and skills. Indeed, in all developed countries, the practice of evaluating and certifying medical professionals by an expert panel (board) which serves as an established central authority has been in place for many years. In Turkey, however, residents are subject to examination in the clinics in which they completed their residency and the diplomas issued by the Ministry of Health document their proficiency in that field, but it is difficult to ensure standardization.

Within the framework of integration into the European Union, the TOCB certificate was designed to be parallel to the European Ophthalmology Board certificate.

How are TOCB examinations conducted?
TOCB works diligently to organize examinations equivalent to international specialty examinations and ensures that the knowledge and skills of candidates are measured objectively by applying current exam techniques in the examinations they prepare. During the current transition phase, our willing colleagues participate in these exams on a voluntary basis.

TOCB examinations are comprised of two parts, a written exam and a practical exam. The first written exam in Turkey was conducted in 2003 (TOCB Written Exam). Later, the written exam was replaced with the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) exam, which is conducted using the same questions at 92 centers in 61 countries worldwide every April. This exam, which covers Basic and Clinical Ophthalmology, has been conducted in Turkey since 1996. Previously conducted in English, the exam was translated into Turkish as of 2005, then in 2010 it was decided to again conduct it completely in English.

The practical (oral) portion is conducted by the TOCB in the ‘Objective Structured Clinical Examination’ format. This format allows the objective assessment of candidates’ knowledge and skills. The exam does not emphasize theory, but instead tests candidates’ knowledge, skill, and attitude in solving various ophthalmologic problems. The practical exam was first conducted in April 2005. Exam dates are subject to change.

Our colleagues who pass the written and practical exams and become TOCB certified earn the right to become a TOCB General Assembly Member. Furthermore, this certification is taken into consideration when applying for national and international jobs and scholarships.

Because the implementation of these standards is only possible with the awareness and participation of the entire ophthalmology community, the decision was made to make this information easily accessible for members on the TOA website.

2017 Standard ICO Exam Announcement
Updates concerning the ICO exams
The Advanced (FICO) ICO Examination
Guide to the TOCB General Exam
TOCB Practical (Oral) Exam Application Form
Resident Logbook
  • Results of Past TOCB Exams (2003 – 2005 – 2007 – 2010 – 2011 – 2012 – 2013 – 2014 – 2015)

    Address: Turkish Ophthalmological Association Secretary
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