Welcome to ABDO College

Did you know your Internet Explorer is out of date?

To get the best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.

Just click on the icons to get to the download page

If you understand that your browser is inadequate but you still wish to view the site click here

 - ABDO College

Senior Optical Assistant Course


Entry requirements

Candidates should have a GCSE grade A-C (4-9)/equivalent in Maths. If candidates do not have a GCSE in Maths we recommend they begin with the 'Optical Assistant' course for a more introductory approach.


£1320 - includes first attempt all exams

Course duration

1 year

Course structure

Online distance learning combined with in practice tasks. Students should allow 6-8 hours per week for study. Regular access to IT resources is essential.

Assessment methods

All modules are assessed by formal examination in both theory and practical terms. These examinations are run and administered by ABDO Examinations

Application deadline


Course start date



The Senior Optical Assistant course is a qualification for optical assistants working at a higher level. It is tailored to the needs of those who would like to become senior optical assistants and potential dispensing opticians. It is a natural progression for those who have completed introductory training in optics, or have been working as an optical assistant for some time and would like to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Students are assigned a personal tutor, and work through weekly assignments, receiving the support of ABDO College webinars, advice and guidance from their personal tutor as well as the college support team. All course reading materials are provided as part of each unit, so no further investment is needed in textbooks. If you want to read around a topic, recommended sources of further information are provided.

An in-practice mentor should also be assigned to help the student on their path through the course. This person does not have to be GOC registered, but should have a high level of training in the field and a basic awareness of supporting colleagues to learn new skills.

Students will also attend a practical skills event on the morning of their practical exams at the ABDO National Resource Centre, Aston, Birmingham.


The course syllabus

The course consists of 32 weekly units that students complete and submit through an online Virtual Learning Environment with a break over Christmas. Each submission is marked and returned to the student within seven days of the assignment deadline to ensure that feedback is continuous throughout the course and a ongoing relationship with their tutor is promoted.

The full timetable is provided well in advance of the course start date so students can plan their time effectively and work ahead of schedule if they wish.

Provision of spectacles and contact lenses in practice

This module aims to underpin and broaden the student’s knowledge in the provision of spectacles and contact lenses. It concentrates on the properties, benefits and limitations of various spectacle lens designs and materials. For spectacles, they are taught the importance of measurement and fitting which, along with best practice, reinforces each student’s comprehension of the potential effects on a patient’s vision.  For contact lenses; materials, types and modalities of wear will be introduced with key features and benefits discussed. Students are also guided on best practice for hygiene, insertion and removal and compliance.

Provision of clinical support and management

This module aims to provide the students a working understanding around the clinical support and day to day considerations of running a successful practice. Management aspects deal with the legal and regulatory requirements of optical practice in addition to customer service and communication. Within clinical support, the coursework concentrates on successful use of pre-screening equipment, prescription interpretation, eye conditions frequently seen in practice and dealing with an ocular emergency as an Optical Assistant.

Optics, the eye, and ocular supplements

This module aims to provide the student with foundation understanding of the nature of light. It deals with equipping the student with the theorical knowledge around light, refraction and reflection at an introductory level. This module then takes this knowledge and connects its relationship to the anatomy of the eye and its refractive errors and correction. Each student will then be introduced to the concepts of ocular health and supplements to support their understanding on products that may be available in their practice.

Optical skills in practice

This module will be taught at a workshop in the ABDO National Resource Centre, Birmingham. Beforehand students will be provided with a workbook which will include the theoretical knowledge of the practical skills and tasks we will introducing to them on the day. These are basic repairs, spectacle checking using an automatic or manual focimeter and prescription interpretation.