ARBO History

The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) has provided resources to regulatory boards of optometry throughout North America since 1919. Boards of optometry serve as the licensing and regulatory arm of the optometric profession by formulating rules, or regulations, that govern and enforce the laws that grant the privilege to practice optometry, which are enacted by state legislatures. Thousands of optometrists have served their profession as members of these regulatory boards and many of these key opinion leaders have been leaders of ARBO. Throughout its history, ARBO has been the forum for all optometry licensing and regulatory agencies to meet, develop, and exchange ideas.

ARBO was established in 1919 and was first known as the International Board of Boards (IBB). In its early form, IBB played a key role in the development of optometric laws; the development of a uniform curriculum for optometry schools; and the accreditation of schools and colleges of optometry. One of IBB's most significant achievements in helping to establish the legitimacy and credibility of the profession was the creation in 1951 of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry in conjunction with the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).

In 1954, IBB became the International Association of Boards of Examiners in Optometry (IAB) and the name changed again in 1999 to the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO). ARBO has continued to provide programs to licensing boards to assist them in regulating the practice of optometry for the public welfare for more than 90 years.

Currently, ARBO's membership consists of 66 regulatory boards throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. We provide programs to accredit optometric continuing education courses, to track and audit the CE attendance of licensed optometrists and to assist with license mobility. Our goal is also to be a conduit for sharing information among licensing boards to help them increase efficiency and decrease costs.