Ophthalmic Dispensing Courses
ABDO College offers two routes to become a dispensing optician:
- Canterbury Christ Church University Degree
- Fellowship Dispensing Diploma
These are both ‘blended learning courses’, they are both delivered by ABDO College and they both lead to registration with the General Optical Council as a dispensing optician.
To become a dispensing optician you will also need to complete a Pre-Qualification Portfolio (PQP). This portfolio is made up of a set number of case records that you build up over a three-year period and makes up a part of your final examinations. This will all be explained when you attend for your first block release and we will issue the PQP to all students.
The profession of ophthalmic dispensing is over 250 years old. As in the past, the supply of spectacles and other visual aids is important to a modern society. Of prime concern to every qualified dispensing optician (DO) is the visual comfort of the patient.
A prescription issued by an ophthalmic medical practitioner or optometrist following an eye examination states the measure of the degree of error in the patient’s sight; the DO’s skill and expertise lies in the interpretation of this prescription. From the prescription the DO is able to supply an accurate aid to the patient’s vision; either spectacles or other appropriate appliances.
The work of the dispensing optician involves prescription analysis, advice on lens type and styling of frames, and taking frame, facial and lenses measurements. Before any finished spectacles are deemed acceptable for a patient, they must be checked to ensure they correspond to the prescription and final ordered specifications, and are suitable for the conditions in which they will be used. After the patient has received the new spectacles and has been instructed in how to get the best results from them, the DO is always available to offer advice and effect adjustments and repairs if necessary.
The supply and fitting of contact lenses involves different processes to fitting spectacles, and after completion of the standard course, advanced courses are run for those wishing to specialise in the subject. Registration with the General Optical Council as a dispensing optician is obtained after qualifying for ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing (enabling the use of ‘FBDO’ after the DO’s name).
Dispensing optics offers immense job satisfaction to people who are interested in combining a profession in health and social care with a mathematical/ scientific knowledge base and enjoy interacting directly with the public.
Courses delivered by a method called ‘blended learning’ consist of practice-based learning, block release and distance learning coursework.
Coursework material will be provided via a virtual online learning platform and there will be some assignment questions to answer for each part of the course. We will also allocate you a personal tutor and send you their contact details and a timetable for you to work to. There are 32 units of coursework and you will work through one each week. You then send your work to your personal tutor who will mark it for you and return it to you with some feedback through the platform. You can expect this coursework to take you between 10 and 15 hours per week and you will need to be disciplined to make sure you keep up.
For the degree courses there is also additional learning material and assessment by electronic means. A virtual learning environment provides additional resources, peer support and digital drop box for your complete assessment work. This work will be guided by the module leader.
Block release is a two week period of intensive study that will support you with your theory and practical studies and give you the chance to meet some of your fellow students. There will be two of these block release periods in each year. Block release is held at ABDO College in Godmersham, Kent and it is a compulsory part of the course for all students from the UK and ROI.
While you are studying for your FBDO you will be training full-time. This training consists not just of your block release and distance learning coursework but also of your learning in practice with your supervisor. You and your supervisor will be issued with a Practical Training Timetable to guide you both through this part of your training.
You will also need to complete a Pre-Qualification Portfolio (PQP). This portfolio is made up of a set number of case records that you build up over a three-year period and makes up a part of your final examinations. This will all be explained when you attend for your first block release and we will issue the PQP to all students.