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 - ABDO College

The Course Structures used by ABDO College

Fellowship Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing

Fellowship Dispensing Diploma (FBDO)

The three-year diploma course in Ophthalmic Dispensing leads to the ABDO Level 6 FBDO qualification. The course is three years long and prepares students for the Fellowship Diploma examinations (FBDO). The course is made up of units of coursework, assignment questions, block release study and practice-based learning.

The Fellowship Dispensing Diploma course is based around the ABDO Syllabus and the GOC Core Curriculum for Dispensing Opticians. Both of these documents are available on request from the appropriate body.

Year 1

Ophthalmic Lenses, Optics, Professional Conduct and Communication.
Ophthalmic Dispensing Practice.

Year 2

Theory in Ophthalmic Dispensing, Advanced Theory of Ophthalmic Lenses, Abnormal Ocular Conditions and Standards of Practice, Ocular Anatomy, Paediatric Dispensing and Communication.

Year 3

Refractive Management, Low Vision and Contact Lenses.
Advanced Ophthalmic Dispensing Practice

BSc Hons in Ophthalmic Dispensing

Provided by ABDO College working in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, this a two-year Foundation Degree course followed by a third year BSc Degree course in Ophthalmic Dispensing – leading to BSc (Hons) and the ABDO Level 6 FBDO qualifications.


The programme is made up of two parts and takes three years in all. The first two years form the Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing. In the third year, students have a choice of completing a BSc (Hons) in Ophthalmic Dispensing and the FBDO or just the FBDO. We will discuss the options open to them and help to choose a suitable course when the time comes. In both cases, students will complete the examinations set by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians in order to qualify as a dispensing optician.

There are six, twenty credit, modules in each of the first two years. They are all compulsory.

In the first year the modules are:

  • Foundations for Learning
  • Introduction to Optics
  • Introduction to Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Theory of General Optics
  • Theory of Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Communication in Ophthalmic Practice

In the second year the modules are:

  • Evidence Based Ophthalmic Practice
  • Standards of Practice
  • Advanced Theory of Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Ocular Anatomy & Physiology
  • Theory of Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • Paediatric Dispesning

The third year will depend on which option you choose; however, both courses will include Refractive Management, Low Vision and Contact Lenses.

The Foundation Degree and BSc (Hons) courses are based around the ABDO Syllabus and the GOC Core Curriculum for Dispensing Opticians. Both of these documents are available on request from the appropriate body.

Contact Lens Certificate

Contact lens Certificate

The Contact Lens Certificate course is based around the ABDO Syllabus and the GOC Contact Lens Core Competencies. Both of these documents are available on request from the appropriate body.

The three key areas of theory study are:

  1. Ocular Anatomy, Physiology and Related Pathology; eyelids, pre-corneal tear film, lacrimal system, cornea, sclera, conjunctiva and anterior chamber.
  2. Visual Optics; instrumentation and emerging technology, refractive techniques, the optics of the eye and the optics of contact lenses.
  3. Contact Lens Practice; instrumentation, clinical procedures, abnormal conditions, design, materials, manufacture and related terminology, clinical application of all contact lens types, solutions and drugs.

The practical elements are; initial assessment, soft contact lens fitting, RGP contact lens fitting, complex lenses, aftercare routine and management, verification and identification.

Students must be working in practice as a trainee contact lens optician for a minimum of one day a week. It is essential that students are gaining practical experience to support theory learning and developing practical skills in contact lens practice.

Block release is a one week period of intensive study that will support theory and practical studies and give the chance to meet some fellow students. There will be two of these block release periods in the year. Block release is held at ABDO College in Godmersham, Kent and it is a compulsory part of the course for all students.

Block Release and Reports

Your student will undertake 2 periods of block release with us each year. The dates for each student’s attendance are supplied with their course confirmation letter to give plenty of notice for planning time out of practice.

Whilst students are with us, they will complete a series of intensive lectures, workshops and practical skills seminars to build on and re-affirm the knowledge gained from their coursework.

The timetable for when each group is scheduled to attend the College is below.

Students will receive 2 reports per semester. One following their block release including general feedback on their time in College as well as guidance from lecturing staff for the next few months. Students also receive a report approximately halfway through each semester with a summary of their assignment marks.

Block Release Timetable