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 - ABDO College

Low Vision Honours

Course Overview

Course duration

Course study duration = 6 months. Total length of time before qualifying depends on the student's access to appropriate patients for the completion of case records for examination.


£2150 course fee. Examinations are not included and are run by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians Examination and Registration department.

Application deadline

10th January 2020

Entry requirements

Applicants should be a qualified dispensing optician, contact lens optician, orthoptist, optometrist or ophthalmologist

Course structure

Students study via 'blended learning'. This refers to a combination of distance learning, teaching at the College as well as learning in practice. Students complete weekly distance learning assignments (all online) and attend the College in Godmersham, Kent, for 1 residential block lasting 5 days (Monday-Friday).

Course start date

21st January 2020



Objective and subjective refraction, low vision assessment and registration procedures, magnification, availability and use of magnifiers, psychological impact of visual loss, appliances and training for the patient with low vision, contrast sensitivity, illumination & filters, ocular pathology and low vision, rehabilitation and living with visual impairment, collation of case records for examination purposes.


The theory course runs from January to July each year and includes a short period of intensive study (four days) at Godmersham. It is expected that students will sit theory examinations in the subsequent September. Case records and preparation for practical examinations will be dependent on the number of patients that the student is able to assess and may therefore be taken at a later date.


The Low Vision Honours course prepares students for the ABDO Diploma in The Assessment & Management of Low Vision. It is an ‘honours level’ qualification that has been accredited by Ofqal (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) as Level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). This means that it is at the same academic level as a Bachelors degree with honours or graduate diploma.


The Low Vision Honours course is delivered by a method called ‘blended learning’ that consists of practice based learning, block release and distance learning coursework.


We will send you some coursework material to work through and 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 23 units of coursework that you will work through over one or two weeks according to the timetable. You then send your work to your personal tutor who will mark it for you and return it to you with some feedback. As the course is at honours level, you will also need to undertake some additional research and read around the subject in order to gain a thorough understanding of the subject. You can expect this coursework to take you approximately 20 hours per week and you will need to be disciplined to make sure you keep up.


While you are studying the Low Vision Honours course you will also be working in practice as a registered dispensing optician and developing a significant level of experience in the assessment of patients with low vision. The opportunity to work in hospital clinic setting or a rehabilitation centre would greatly enhance your experience and contribute appropriately to your learning in this specialist field. Fifteen case records that demonstrate assessment procedures, selection and fitting of low vision aids and an aftercare regime for a minimum of three months will need to be submitted to ABDO prior to practical examinations.


The Low Vision Honours course is for qualified dispensing opticians, contact lens opticians, orthoptists, optometrists or ophthalmologists that have a specialist interest in working with patients with low vision. Qualified orthoptists that are interested in learning more about low vision may undertake the theory part of this course. However, orthoptists are not permitted to complete the practical elements, examinations nor dispense spectacles or spectacle mounted low vision aids and would therefore not gain any qualification from this study.


Yes, it is essential that you develop a significant level of experience in the assessment of patients with low vision.


You must hold the ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing (FBDO) or be a qualified orthoptist, optometrist or ophthalmologist.


If you are unsure about your eligibility to undertake the Low Vision Honours course please call us and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.


Yes, you will need to retain full membership for the duration of your course.


Yes, as a practicing dispensing optician you will need to retain full registration for the duration of your course.


The Low Vision Honours course run by ABDO College prepares students for the Diploma in The Assessment & Management of Low Vision examinations available from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians which leads to the Level 6 FBDO (Hons) LVA qualification.


Essential reading
Optics (2nd edition) – A H Tunnacliffe/J G Hirst
Principles of Ophthalmic Lenses (5th edition) – M Jalie
Ocular Anatomy & Histology (3rd Edition) – D M Pipe / L J Rapley
Low Vision Principles & Practice – C Dickinson
British Standard BS EN ISO 15253: 2000 – Optical Devices for Low Vision Aids – BSI
Clinical Ophthalmology – A Synopsis – Kanski
Eye Essentials – Low Vision Assessment – J Macnaughton
Introduction to Visual Optics (4th edition) – A H Tunnacliffe

Recommended reading
Low Vision an Inter-Professional Approach – N Andrew, R Harsant, C Lawrence
Low Vision Manual – Jackson and Wolffsohn
Management & Practice of Low Visual Acuity – A T Dowie


ABDO College has its own bookshop and sell all of the books that you will need for your course. Contact Justin Hall at the ABDO College Bookshop by telephone on 01227 733 904, by email at jhall@abdocollege.org.uk or order online at the ABDO College Bookshop.


Call us. We are happy to answer questions about the available courses from ABDO College and to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. We may also be able to put you in touch with other members who have previously completed this course.