Getting to know you: Ed Fox

Ed Fox, ABDO membership officer

A qualified dispensing optician, Ed Fox FBDO joined the ABDO Membership Services Department in 2018 as membership officer…

When in 2007, Ed Fox decided that he’d rather be at work than studying A Levels at sixth form college, he found himself a job at Specsavers in Maidstone, Kent, as a junior optical assistant.

“It was while working at Specsavers that I discovered a love of optics,” says Ed. “I began working up the practice team ranks – becoming a supervisor – then decided to undertake the dispensing course at City & Islington College. I qualified in 2015, and was then promoted to store manager.”

Ed continued to work at Specsavers as store manager for a number of years, before getting itchy feet. He recalls: “Although I appreciated the support and experience I gained at Specsavers, in 2017 I decided I’d like to broaden my optical horizons.

“I took a position in a growing high-end independent practice, helping the team to open their second practice. By the time the position at ABDO had arisen, I had decided that the best way to support my colleagues as a whole – and to pursue my passion for optics – was to work with ABDO. And so I joined the team in March 2018.”

Locked down but not out

A familiar face at ABDO events and optical shows, in normal times, Ed’s day-to-day role within the ABDO Membership Services Department is extremely varied. He explains: “While I may perform different duties from one day to the next, I believe the most important part of my job is to support ABDO members with a listening ear and a friendly voice.

“Where possible, we provide practical and professional guidance to members in a wide range of situations, or signpost to other organisations for help and advice. Members can contact us if they are having problems at work, such as issues with their contract of employment, and we can then put them in touch with our free legal advice service. This service also covers personal disputes in many circumstances.”

As the first port of call for members looking for support or advice, Ed and the Membership Services team, led by Katie Docker, ensure they keep up-to-date with any changes to policies that affect the profession.

“Most recently, we have had to stay on top of the ever-changing government Covid-19 regulations and the vaccine roll-out programme,” Ed says. “When the government confirmed that all optical practice staff would be included in the first stage of vaccinations, we had a large number of calls from members looking for advice on how to access this.

“We really want members to remember that we are available to speak confidentially on any matter, whether it be personal or professional; and if any members need the help of a qualified counsellor we can refer them to our counselling helpline.

“During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, I have really missed getting out and about and seeing our members face-to-face at ABDO events and trade shows. But I have also enjoyed giving up my time in the evenings to support the ABDO CPD Department with its online discussion workshops.

“I hope it won’t be too long before I can catch up with members again in person,” Ed concludes

Get in touch with the ABDO Membership Services Department on 01227 733 902/911/912. Or email Ed at

ABDO member benefits are growing

Have you noticed that there are now even more benefits to being a member of ABDO? The Clinical Hub is the latest addition to a growing number of professional resources to support you in practice, including access to relevant British Standards, Ophthalmic Lens Availability Online and regular online CET sessions.

There is also a growing number of business and careers benefits. Members get access to careers information and advice, a mentor matching programme, business development content through the Business Hub, management and leadership training, plus the latest vacancies sent straight to your inbox.

ABDO is also continuing to reach out to the public with the award winning Careers in Eyecare campaign, and the longstanding EyecareFAQ campaigns.

Find out more about your member benefits here.