We are pleased to be working alongside you whilst you enhance and develop the skills and knowledge required to become effective and compassionate healthcare professionals.

Simon, lecturer in Ophthalmic Dispensing

    How do you want to study?


    2 years

    UCAS code:



    ABDO College
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    This course is specifically designed for people already employed as trainee Dispensing Opticians.

    This Ophthalmic Dispensing course, based at ABDO College, equips optical practice support staff with the skills they need to be effective, reflective practitioners in the modern practice.

    On successful completion of the two year Foundation Degree Ophthalmic Dispensing you can progress directly onto the BSc (Hons) (year 3).

    Why study Ophthalmic Dispensing?

    Dispensing Opticians need to be able to interpret prescriptions (as issued by an optometrist or opthalmologist) to correct a refractive error of sight abnormality and use this information to advise patients on spectacles or contact lenses to improve their vision.

    Based on their extensive practical skills, combined with applied technical and product knowledge, a Dispensing Optician will recommend the use of specific frame types, lens forms, tints, coatings etc, taking into account the patient's anatomical features to ensure a comfortable fit. It's also important that the patient is happy with the way their spectacles look, and that they fit their lifestyle needs. Dispensing Opticians therefore need excellent communication skills to work with their patients during consultations.

    Dispensing Opticians work closely with optical laboratories who they commission to make up bespoke orders; and need to be able to carry out rigorous checks against the original specifications before final fittings with the patient.

      All about the course

      You will be introduced to:

      • the basic optical principles of the nature of light, formation of images produced by plane surfaces and the behaviour of light when meeting different media at interfaces that are not plane
      • the structure of the eye, vision, the colour sense and photometry
      • the form and material properties of ophthalmic lenses and the behaviour of plano-prisms and prismatic lenses
      • the interrelationships of frame and facial measurements
      • communication with patients and a patient-focused approach to decision making utilising information in the workplace to support professional development in theory and practice.

      Entry requirements

      Applicants must be employed as a trainee Dispensing Optician, for a minimum of 30 hours per week, under the supervision of a suitably qualified professional and have active support of their employer.

      Students must become members of the ABDO and register their details with the GOC prior to commencing the course.

      For more information on the IELTS (International English language Testing System) requirements for this course, please click here to visit our dedicated web page.

      More information about entry requirements.

      Module information

      Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

      Core/optional modules

      How you’ll be assessed

      You will be assessed through essays, open book tests, work based tasks, presentations, practical skills, reflective commentaries, pre- qualification portfolio, web-based project.

      Your future career

      The Foundation Degree programme equips optical practice support staff with the skills they need to be effective, reflective practitioners in the modern practice, with opportunities to progress through life-long learning.

      On successful completion of the FD Ophthalmic Dispensing you can progress directly onto the BSc Hons. At this stage you'll be offered the option of two routes to FBDO and guidance to make an informed choice based on your experience and marks at levels one and two.

      The Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing will also articulate with related higher education study in optometry or orthoptics and for progression into the wider health and social care environment.

      NB: The Foundation Degree on its own does not confer licence to practice as a Dispensing Optician.

      There is a growing demand for Dispensing Opticians throughout the UK and in many counties overseas. Dispensing Opticians can acquire specialist skills in Low Vision or Contact Lenses by undertaking the honours courses offered by the ABDO College. Career opportunities also exist to develop business skills in marketing and practice management. Many Dispensing Opticians seek to run their own business by establishing or acquiring their own practice.


      Tuition Fees for some 2022/23 have not yet been finalised. These course web pages will be updated with Tuition Fee information once they have been agreed.

      Diamond Jubilee Scholarships and Bursaries

      To celebrate 60 years of transforming lives through education new cash bursary and scholarship opportunities are available for students starting a degree in September 2022. See full details.

      Apply now


      2 years

      UCAS code:



      ABDO College
      Apply via UCAS