Print Page Text Only
  • Welcome to ABDO
  • EyecareFAQ
  • What dispensing opticians do
  • Children’s eye care
  • Contact lenses
  • Low vision
  • Careers in optics
View more pages

ABDO Information for the public

Always seek professional advice – make sure your vision is in safe hands

The dispensing optician
The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) represents over 6,000 qualified dispensing opticians in the UK who are registered with and regulated by the General Optical Council (GOC). All registered dispensing opticians have undergone a minimum of three years academic and practical training to qualify. Only dispensing opticians registered with the GOC can practise in the UK, or use the protected title dispensing optician.

Their specialist skills include professional advice on lenses for night driving, UV protection, prescription sunglasses, spectacles for VDU use, sports and safety eyewear.

Dispensing spectacles to children, to the visually impaired, or dispensing of contact lenses can only be undertaken by, or carried out under supervision of, dispensing opticians or optometrists registered with the GOC.

When purchasing eyewear ABDO always recommend that you seek the personal advice and services of a qualified optical practitioner so that your individual requirements can be fully assessed and satisfied.

ABDO awards the accredited professional ophthalmic dispensing qualification:

  • FBDO – Level 6* Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing
    *National Qualifications Framework (NQF)


  • Find a registered optician in your areaOpen

    To find a registered optician in your area, visit the General Optical Council (GOC) website. The GOC registers are publicly available to search online.

  • The role of the dispensing opticianOpen
    • A dispensing optician will provide advice and supply the most comfortable fitting and aesthetically appealing spectacles after taking account of your personal visual, lifestyle and vocational needs
    • A major skill is the interpretation of your prescription and the recommendation of lenses, tints and coatings to provide optimum visual performance, combined with suitable spectacle frames to ensure a comfortable fit
    • They take the necessary measurements and keep records of the specifications
    • Dispensing opticians play an important role in advising parents and dispensing to children
    • Another area of expertise is dispensing low vision aids to the visually impaired
    • Many dispensing opticians also specialise in the fitting and supply of contact lenses
    • Continuing Education and Training (CET) is a statutory requirement for all fully-qualified dispensing opticians to retain GOC registration
  • Useful consumer eye care informationOpen

    For additional useful consumer eye care information click here.

    Also visit the ‘Look after your eyes‘ website.

  • Patients with learning disabilitiesOpen

    SeeAbility have published any easy-read factsheet If things go wrong for patients with learning disabilities.