Skip to main content
Bradford College

FdSc Ophthalmic Dispensing

Subject Area
Ophthalmics, Sciences
Qualification Gained
FdSc Ophthalmic Dispensing (awarded by the University of Bolton)
Study Level
Trade & Professional, University, FdSc
2 years Full-time
Start Date
Study Mode


This Programme has full approval by the General Optical Council.

The full-time Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing is aimed at those who wish to work towards becoming a fully qualified and registered Dispensing Optician whilst achieving a level 5 qualification. The FdSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing will provide you with the skills to achieve Fellowship of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and become a General Optical Council Registered Dispensing Optician.

During this course you will study up to level 5 and receive a FdSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing on successful completion. In addition to your Foundation degree, successful completion of your final qualifying exams will allow you to use the suffix FBDO (Fellow of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians).

The course benefits from almost 80 years of combined academic experience of the staff team. All staff on the Ophthalmic Dispensing programme team are qualified Dispensing Opticians. In addition to this, members of the Ophthalmic Dispensing programme team are employed as ABDO external examiners of both theory and practical examinations and this experience of working with the Professional Body is reflected in the currency of the programme.

  Key Info

There are seven core modules at Level 4 which are delivered throughout year 1. Practice Related Learning is a module which looks to link the theories and knowledge learnt on the course with the practical role of the Dispensing Optician. Optics, delivered in Semester 1, is designed to introduce students to the basic optical concepts. Communication Skills is delivered in semester 1 to build up the skills required for the Dispensing Optician to deal with a range of scenarios.  The Introduction to Ophthalmic Lenses in Semester 2 is a maths-based subject looking at the principles which ophthalmic lenses are based. Prescription Analysis is also studied in semester 2 will enable students to analyse and dispense basic prescriptions. Practical Ophthalmic Dispensing and Ocular Anatomy are delivered in Semester 1 & 2 to complete the Level 4 modules and enable progression to the second year of the programme.  Practical Ophthalmic Dispensing has been designed to prepare the student for the ABDO Preliminary Practical Examinations at the end of Semester 2.

The Theory of Low Vision and Contact Lenses, and Vocational Ophthalmic Dispensing modules have been designed to introduce the student to more advanced specialist subjects required by dispensing opticians. The Professional Practice Module develops understanding of GOC Codes of Conduct which include a duty to refer. The Visual Optics module will expand the students’ knowledge in relation to vision and will enhance the fundamental understanding of geometrical and physiological optics.  Practical Dispensing Skills will develop the more advanced dispensing competencies required for the ABDO Final Qualifying Practical Examination.

A range of methods are used to promote student learning including formative assessment, with feedback to students on graded work which provides guidance on improving future performance. Detailed feedback forms, oral feedback on coursework and examinations and advisory tutorials are all used. The effectiveness of this strategy is further strengthened and developed with the use of a range of teaching and learning strategies used throughout the programme including the following:

  • Small group discussions;
  • Seminars, tutorials and practical sessions;
  • Group work;
  • Self-directed learning;
  • Independent and group projects;
  • Lectures;
  • VLE based exercises;
  • Presentations; and
  • Workshops

Level 4 is delivered in semester 1 and 2 of year 1 and Level 5 is delivered in semester 1 and 2 of year 2.

Year 1:

  • Practice Related Learning
  • Optics
  • Communication Skills
  • Introduction to Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Prescription Analysis
  • Practical Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • Ocular Anatomy

Year 2:

  • Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Ocular Pathology
  • Theory of Low Vision and Contact Lenses
  • Vocational Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • Professional Practice
  • Practical Dispensing Skills
  • Visual Optics

There are seven core modules at Level 5 which are studied in the second year.  The Professional Practice and Ocular Pathology module will develop the students’ understanding of pathological conditions that affect the eye and follows on from Ocular Anatomy at Level 4. The Ophthalmic Lenses module has been designed to extend and develop the knowledge of Introduction to Ophthalmic Lenses.

Entry to this course requires 64 UCAS points, 1 A Level at a grade C or above to include one Science subject (Physics, Biology, Chemistry or Mathematics) or equivalent qualification.

If you have a FdSc Ophthalmic Dispensing you could top-up to a BSc (Hons) by studying the Level 6 modules.

Applications for the part-time Top-up should be made direct to the College.

The College welcomes applications from those who do not meet these criteria but have experience in the subject area.

We also consider individual applicants who can demonstrate relevant learning, work/voluntary experience, using our Recognition of Prior Learning process. Please contact the admission team for further information and support.

Modules will be assessed by a range of methods including practical reports, written course work, presentations, written and verbal examinations. Assessed grades are subject to external moderation.

The Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing requires students to be in employment with a GOC registered Optician.

As part of their studies, students will be offered the opportunity to visit an optical manufacturer to complete Case Record 51 – a compulsory part of their pre-registration period.  This is organised by the College where students gain valuable experience in all aspects of lens manufacture and glazing.

Speakers from ABDO and the GOC visit the College annually to provide the students with information about registration and membership. You will need to register with both the GOC and ABDO as a student registrant during the period of your study.

Bradford College has excellent links with industry and students on the Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing have befitted from visiting lecturers on a regular basis. These include:

  • Essilor UK Ltd Ophthalmic Lens Manufacturer
  • Nikon UK Ltd Ophthalmic Lens Manufacturer
  • Hoya UK Ltd Ophthalmic Lens Manufacturer
  • Stepper UK Ltd Spectacle Manufacturer
  • Alcon Contact Lens manufacturer

On completion of the course, you will be in a position to progress to:

  • The role of a Dispensing Optician in a private practice, in the NHS or in a large multiple organisation
  • A management position in an organisation
  • Employment with lens and frame manufacturers
  • You could go on to study the Contact Lens Certificate at Bradford College to train to become a Contact Lens Optician

You could go on to study the Low Vision Honours course at Bradford College to train to become a Low Vision specialist

Many of our previous students have become:

  • Practice owners / Practice Directors
  • Practice managers,
  • Account managers
  • Specialise in field of Contact Lens fitting and Low Vison.

The BSc (Hons) and FdSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing offer students the potential opportunity to go on to study Optometry.

Fees: Full-time: £8750 per year. £44 Disclosure and Barring Service Check, £30 GOC registration fee per year, £100 ABDO registration fee per year, £20 City Rule, £70 Facial gauge. In addition to this, there are 2 sets of professional examinations which need to be sat with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians in order for you to practice as a registered Dispensing Optician.

This is representative of the most common fees scenario, but actual fees can vary depending on a number of factors. Please contact us if you need more guidance.

Disclaimer: Our prospectus, college documents and website are simply here to offer a guide. We accept no liability for any inaccurate statements and are not responsible for any negative outcomes if you rely on an inaccurate statement. We reserve the right to withdraw any programmes or service ay any time.

  Loading careers data