European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

ECVO Code of Conduct ECVO Code of Conduct (Draft, May 2016)

All ECVO Diplomates, Residents and Candidates for the ECVO Certification Examination are required to act in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws and Code of Conduct of the College.

Conflict of Interest:

ECVO Diplomates, Residents and Candidates for the ECVO Certifying Examination are expected to promptly, openly and honestly disclose any potential Conflict of Interest.

Research and Presentations: A potential conflict of interest exists when data collection, interpretation and presentation has a reasonable chance of being biased by commercial relationships. Any potential conflict of interest should be disclosed in any oral or poster presentation, publication or Continuing Education session involving the Diplomate or their collaborators.

Resident Training: A conflict of interest exists when the objectivity of the Supervising Diplomate has a reasonable chance of being influenced by personal relationships, financial arrangements or other interests. Conflict of interest should be disclosed by ECVO Residents, ECVO Diplomates serving as mentors, and by Candidates and Examiners for the ECVO Certification Examination and in this instance also a close working relationship and / or supervision and mentorship of the Candidate during their Residency training also represents a conflict of interest. 

Patient Care: A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning the well-being of the patient has a reasonable chance of being influenced by other interests of the provider, for example commercial or research interests. An ECVO Diplomate, Resident or Candidate for Diplomate status must fully and truthfully disclose such a conflict of interest to patients, the public, and colleagues.


Between Executive Committee members and Standing or ad hoc Committee Members:

In accordance with the ECVO Constitution and Bylaws, Standing and ad hoc Committee appointments will be made by the ECVO President acting on behalf of the Executive Committee, generally acting in consultation with the relevant Committee Chair.

In addition to committee descriptions outlined in the ECVO Bylaws, all committees will be provided with a detailed description of committee duties and responsibilities, in the form of committee-specific Standard Operating Procedures, with which all members should be familiar. All committee members are expected to review any additional orientation materials for new committee members with particular attention to communication and confidentiality.

Within Committees:

Business conducted within a committee should be considered confidential and kept within the committee, with the exception of communication between committee chairs and the executive committee, or other formal communications between committee chairs that are conducted in accordance with the ECVO Bylaws. Disagreements and non-unanimous decisions within a committee should be reflected by inclusion of the outcome of committee votes in annual reports Public discussion of committee business should be strictly limited, and committee discussions should not be widely distributed within the ECVO membership.

Every effort should be made to ensure prompt and timely communication.

Communications should be concise and should include an appropriate subject line. Email communications should be addressed only to those whom the message directly concerns, except where copies (cc) are circulated for information to other committee members or college officers. When messages are sent for informational purposes only, this should be made explicit to all recipients concerned.

Between fellow ECVO Diplomates:

Communications between ECVO Diplomates: should be professional, cordial and truthful. Circulation of e-mail communications between individual Diplomates and all other members of the ECVO is discouraged. As noted above, to respect the time of others, communications should only be addressed to those whom the message directly concerns. In the event that an ECVO Diplomate other than an elected member of the executive committee, or appointed administrative assistant to the College, circulates communication to all fellow Diplomates, it should be made explicit that the content of the circulated message is not being sent in the capacity of official college business and does not reflect official ECVO policy or decisions but is being sent by the Diplomate as an individual / private person.

Between ECVO Diplomates and members of the Public and Non-ECVO Diplomates

Communications must be open and honest to ensure that the best interests of the patient and profession are served. Communications to the public must be accurate and truthful and clinical information must be shared promptly with professional colleagues involved in care of a mutual patient. An ECVO Diplomate, Resident or Candidate should not convey false, untrue, deceptive, or misleading information through statements, testimonials, photographs, graphics, or other means. They shall not omit material information without which the communications would be deceptive. Communications must not appeal to an individual’s anxiety in an excessive or unfair way; and should not create unjustified expectations of results. If communications refer to benefits or other attributes of ophthalmic procedures that involve significant risks, then realistic assessments of their safety and efficacy shall also be included, as well as the availability of alternatives and, where necessary to avoid deception, descriptions and/or assessments of the benefits or other attributes of those alternatives. Communications must not misrepresent an ECVO member’s, Resident’s or Candidate’s credentials, training, experience, or ability, and shall not contain material claims of superiority that cannot be substantiated.


All treatment of animals should respect their welfare, whether client-owned or research animals. Research studies involving client-owned animals should only be conducted with the owners’ written, informed consent. All research activities should strictly adhere to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Vision Research and should be subject to objective review by a national or institutional committee and must be conducted in accordance with prevailing national animal research legislation of the country in which the research is performed. 

Breach of Code of Conduct:

If an ECVO Diplomate has a reasonable basis for believing that another Diplomate has deviated from professionally accepted standards, in a manner that adversely affects patient care, through negligence or impairment; or otherwise has deviated from professional conduct outlined in the ECVO Constitution and Bylaws and this Code of Conduct, the ECVO member should attempt to prevent the continuation of this misconduct by direct communication with the Diplomate concerned. When that action proves ineffective or is not feasible, the ECVO Diplomate has a responsibility to refer the matter to the ECVO Executive Committee or appropriate local or national authorities and to cooperate with those authorities in their professional and legal efforts to prevent the continuation of the misconduct.

In the first instance, non-professional or non-collegial interactions or communications with colleagues or the public or failure to disclose potential conflicts of interest may be subject to review by the Executive Committee and issuance of a letter of warning. Repeated instances of unprofessional and non-collegial behavior, including inappropriate e-mail communication (s); any breaches of the applicable standards in animal research and/or clinical care; instances of plagiarism, or falsification or misrepresentation of clinical or research data are considered to represent serious misconduct and if reported to the Executive Committee of the ECVO will be investigated by an ad hoc committee of experienced Diplomates appointed by the President, acting on behalf of the Executive Committee. Those found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct may be subject to sanctions in accordance with Article 4, Section 7, of the ECVO Constitution. Sanctions may include temporary revocation of Diplomate status, removal of an individual’s name from the EBVS Specialist Register, and/ or expulsion from the College. Serious breaches will be subject to reporting to the EBVS or, in cases with evidence suggesting malpractice or non-compliance with prevailing Animal Welfare legislation, appropriate National Licensing Authorities for further investigation.

Appeals Process: Diplomates subject to sanctions for alleged breach of the ECVO Code of Conduct, Constitution, or Bylaws may appeal Adverse Decisions through a formal process in accordance with Article 9 of the ECVO Bylaws.