About us


The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is the professional body for dispensing opticians – working for dispensing opticians and advancing the profession in the UK and worldwide.

Dispensing opticians are healthcare professionals registered with the statutory regulator for the optical professions, the General Optical Council.

Dispensing opticians are also able to gain a further qualification that enables them to register as contact lens opticians.

You can read about the roles of dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians here.

ABDO’s purpose

ABDO’s purpose is to support and represent its members, to promote awareness of their roles, to enable their professional development and to advance the profession as a whole.


Strategic Plan

ABDO’s Strategic Plan will guide its work for the five years from 2022 to 2026. You can read the Strategic Plan here.

ABDO’s vision

ABDO’s vision is that by 2026 it will have:

  • Provided more opportunities for members to develop their roles
  • Implemented the GOC’s new education standards and outcomes
  • Supported members by providing continuing professional development, including qualifications and accreditations
  • Increased the understanding and recognition of members’ roles
  • Developed the profession’s evidence base
  • Improved member services, products and benefits
  • Improved how it communicates and collaborates
  • Ensured the organisation is sustainable

ABDO’s values

The following values will support ABDO’s work on behalf of members:

  • We are passionately committed to our members, who are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We maintain high standards for our members and our own work.
  • We are proactive in adapting to changing circumstances.
  • We are driven by a sense of common purpose.
  • We respect each other and our different areas of expertise.
  • We work collaboratively with our colleagues and other organisations.
  • We are open and transparent about our work.
  • We strive to continuously improve what we do and how we work together.

ABDO’s Annual Plan

Each year ABDO publishes an Annual Plan showing how it is working towards its vision and enabling us to respond to new developments.

You can read the Annual Plan here, within the Strategic Plan.


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.

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 adviser.

The board is served by the secretariat of the Association headed by the chief executive Alistair Bridge.

The president and vice president are elected by the board from among 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. 

You can read the regulations of ABDO here.



You can read the Articles of Association of ABDO here.