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 - ABDO College

Optical Assistant Course

Course Overview


26 weeks

Assessment method

Continuous assessment via weekly assignments. Students must attain an average of 70% and submit all assignments in order to complete the course. No exams.



Course start date


Application deadline


Entry requirements

No formal qualifications required although candidates are required be working in an optical practice environment as the course includes practice based tasks.

Course structure

Weekly distance learning assignments with online webinars and a 1 day Practical Skills workshop at the ABDO National Resource Centre in Birmingham (attendance of the workshop is not required to complete the course, but is included in the fee). Students require an in practice mentor to act as a point of contact and to help guide them through their course. There are no particular qualifications needed to be a Mentor, however, a strong understanding of optics and the practice environment is recommended.

Course Summary

This course is designed for all support staff working in optics, from entry level to those with a desire to reinforce their skills and broaden the knowledge gained in practice. Each module is designed to provide the learner the foundation of knowledge needed in order to support both professional staff and customers in their practice.

Students on this course will benefit from a workshop which will demonstrate the various types of optical screening equipment in practice and how to carry out basic repairs and adjustments. This workshop will also allow the students to learn in hands on environment under the expertise of our tutors.

This course is designed as an introduction to formal learning for students in the area of optics to help them progress in their optical career and educational pathway.

End of year exams can be a significant barrier to a student’s desire to pursue further education; with this in mind, this introductory course allows people to study and learn without this anxiety.

The students must achieve an average grade of 70% across their assignments in order to gain a completion certificate from ABDO College. All assignments must be submitted.

Successful completion of this Optical Assistant course will allow the learner direct entry into Year 1 of the ABDO College FBDO Diploma programme without the need for prerequisite GCSEs or A Levels while studying subjects directly applicable to everyday practice.


Module Descriptions

Introduction to the Eye

The aim of this module is for the learner to understand the very basic anatomy and functions of the eye. It will provide the learner with an understanding of myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism and presbyopia and their correction.

Introduction to Contact Lenses

The aim of this module is for the learner to understand the different types and wearing modalities of contact lenses, their advantages and disadvantages, the general principles of lens care including hygiene and aftercare.

The provision of Spectacle Lenses in Optics

The aim of this module is for the learner to gain an understanding of the optics of lenses and their design and form including the significance of optical centres, decentration, prisms and their application, and the types and uses of special and safety lenses, and tints.

The provision of Spectacle Frames in Optics

The aim of this module is for the learner to understand the components of a spectacle frame, the materials used in construction and manufacture, the standard measurements of a frame and how to assist patients in choosing suitable frames to match their facial shape and features

Legal Requirements in Optics

The aim of this module is to help the learner to understand the roles and responsibilities of staff within the optical profession, including how to communicate and deal with patients and patients’ entitlements and the procedures required within the health service. It also gives clear guidance on the limits of responsibilities of all staff and the requirements for contractors working under the GOS contract. It therefore gives all within the profession an insight into the roles across all disciplines and outlines the role of the representative bodies and the GOC.

Introduction to Mathematics

The aim of this module is for the learner to be able to understand and apply mathematical principles used within optics. It includes geometrical mathematical principles and basic algebra. For those students who do not have confidence in their mathematic ability, an introduction to maths guide is available which is very informative and supportive.



Practical skills workshop

Delivered in ABDO’s state of the art National Resource Centre, this workshop will introduce staff to the wide range of repairs, tools and equipment used in optical practices. Sessions on the day will include basic repairs and spectacle fitting, case study scenarios to discuss as well as an introduction to symptoms and signs of common eye conditions.



Workshop Dates

The workshops will run as 1 full day split into 2 half day sessions with lunch provided. There are 2 dates per academic year to choose from. For this coming September’s intake there will be one in the Autumn of 2024 and a second option in the Spring of 2025. Candidates may book onto either day, though we would need this to be done in advance to ensure we cater for the correct amount of students. Workshops are included in the Optical Assistant course fee though external candidates can book into either day to benefit from the teaching and guidance for the cost of £175 – as long as there are spaces available once bookings from the course have been taken. Please contact the Courses team at ABDO College for more details.