ABDO was formed in 1986 when its two predecessors, the Association of Dispensing Opticians and the Faculty of Dispensing Opticians, were merged following the Health and Social Security Act of 1984. The profession of dispensing opticians has been regulated voluntarily since 1926 and, as a statutory profession, by the Opticians Act since 1958. Since such time the conduct of dispensing opticians has thus been regulated partly by legal provisions, by advice given by the General Optical Council, and by ABDO’s own Advice to Fellows.
ABDO currently has 9,000 members and represents over 5,800 qualified dispensing opticians in the UK. It also has 600 members overseas, 500 associate members and approximately 1,800 student members worldwide.