ABDO, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, represents 6,578 qualified dispensing opticians in the UK. The Association also has 188 members overseas and 1,372 student members worldwide.*
ABDO was formed in 1986 when its 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.
The Association is governed by a board of directors, which consists of nine full members of the Association elected by members’ ballot. The board has a non-voting academic adviser.
The board is served by the secretariat of the Association headed by the general secretary Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO.
The president and vice president are elected by the board from amongst its number. The term of office, for both the president and vice president, is normally two years.
ABDO is divided into the following regions within the UK:
Within each region, a Regional Lead is supported by Sub Regional Leads who between them look after the interests of ABDO members at a local level.
* Figures supplied by the ABDO Membership Services Department in April 2021.