About us


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’s objectives are:

  • To support, protect and advance the character, status and interests of dispensing opticians.
  • The advancement, for the benefit of the public, of the science and art of dispensing optics and promotion of research into such science and art, provided that the useful results of any such research is disseminated for public benefit.

ABDO’s aims are:

  • To promote the better education and training of dispensing opticians.
  • To encourage the study, and improve the practice, of dispensing optics.
  • To encourage suitable standards of education in dispensing optics, and to establish, continue and adjudicate a system of qualifying and higher examinations.
  • To enter into any arrangements with any authorities that may seem conducive to the interests of ABDO.
  • To disseminate among members and others, information on all matters affecting dispensing optics, and publish written material as appropriate.
  • To give the legislative, public bodies and others, facilities of conferring with, and ascertaining the views of, persons engaged in the optical dispensing profession.


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.

ABDO Board

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 Regional Structure

ABDO is divided into the following regions within the UK:

  • ABDO London
  • ABDO Midlands and East Anglia
  • ABDO North of England
  • ABDO South
  • ABDO Northern Ireland
  • ABDO Scotland
  • ABDO Wales

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.

You can read the regulations of ABDO here.



You can read the Articles of Association of ABDO here.