Press Release

Exciting new partnerships in Australia and New Zealand

Exciting new partnerships in Australia and New Zealand

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians has announced new opportunities for aspiring dispensing opticians in Australia and New Zealand. After a successful pilot year, applications are now open for a course in Ophthalmic Dispensing which combines online study with lectures and practical sessions in Australia.

The course is being run by ABDO College, and College Principal Jo Underwood spent a week in Melbourne earlier this year working with students. She says, “In order to fully support students on the Ophthalmic Dispensing course who are based in Australia and New Zealand we offer two one-week teaching blocks to supplement on-line course materials. In February I ran the first of the face-to-face teaching blocks. I introduced the practical elements required for year one of the course, gave additional theory support, and helped students understand the examination format. The group was hugely enthusiastic, really positive and excited about the programme. I am looking forward to my return visit in May.”

The appetite for further optical education in Australia and New Zealand is significant and growing. Donald Crichton FBDO is President of Association of Dispensing Opticians New Zealand and Vice President of the International Opticians Association. He says, “The feeling in New Zealand is that DO training is on a positive upward trajectory. There is interest in the course which is being well supported in line with our population.” Richard Couch is Head of Ophthalmic Lenses and Dispensing Advancement with the Specsavers Product Team in Australia and New Zealand and has been one of the driving forces behind getting the course up and running in Australia. He says, “There is a tremendous desire for dispensing advancement in both Australia and New Zealand and there is no better format for learning than the ABDO format. The fact that local optical dispensers can engage directly with lecturers in Australia will really appeal and should take participation to a new level.” Alicia Thompson, Director of Professional Examinations for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians says, “Having lectured at the Specsavers Dispensing Conferences in 2017 and 2018 in several locations across Australia and New Zealand, the level of enthusiasm and desire for knowledge from the delegates blew me away. To witness first-hand the self-driven motivation for attending, participation and learning is incredibly refreshing.”

For more information visit or email or for Specsavers applicants.



Notes to Editors

    1. Media enquiries to Antonia Chitty, 07538 525476,
    2. ABDO College is the leading provider of blended and distance learning education for the optical sector. It offers programmes from Level 2 to degree and postgraduate level in association with Canterbury Christ Church University
    3. ABDO represents over 6000 qualified dispensing opticians in the United Kingdom. Registered office, 199, Gloucester Terrace, London W2 6LD.
    4. ADONZ represents 174 full members and 82 student members in New Zealand.
    5. Specsavers Australia & New Zealand is made up of more than 380 practices, is market leader for eye tests and prescription eyewear in both countries, and dispenses more than 5 million pairs of glasses annually