Why we need to continue our education as dispensing opticians

Dispensing Opticians

During the first part of the year, we visit trade fairs to view the latest eyewear and equipment available on the market. But we also engage in workshops, lectures and discussion groups at these events. It is vital to keep up-to-date with new developments within the optical industry, new legislation or clinical procedures, how to treat certain eye conditions or new guidance for referring patients to the health system.

There is a whole raft of constantly changing information, which we have to be aware of to implement these updates. Continuing education is also a stipulation by the General Optical Council (GOC) should you wish to continue to be a member of the General Optical Council and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

The GOC is the optical professions regulator in the UK, whereas ABDO is the main professional association for dispensing opticians. After Alison completed her degree in ophthalmic optics, she also had to undertake theoretical and practical exams overseen by the GOC and ABDO. In doing so, she earned the title of Fellow of British Dispensing Optician (FBDO) and registered with the GOC. The GOC sets the standards of training, performance and conduct for opticians. There are nineteen standards to which all registered opticians must adhere to ensure that all our patients receive a high standard of care. Because of these standards, it gives patients peace of mind that the people they trust with their eyecare perform to a benchmark standard.

The GOC require dispensing opticians to continue their education throughout their registered career. We complete numerous CPD (continuing professional development) training via workshops, discussion groups, and question-and-answer sessions. These accredited courses, once completed, earns points which we must collect. We also need to log a minimum of twelve each year.

Alison recently attended a day conference in Birmingham, setting off early one Sunday morning when everyone else was still in bed. She didn’t expect it to be an exciting day but found it interesting and informative. The first lecture was about eye health supplements and why diet is not always enough. This lecture provoked some thought about people’s diets. Changing our diets and supplementing with specific micronutrients can do wonders for our eye health. All scientifically proven, it’s a fascinating subject, and we will be writing a separate blog about it soon.

Dispensing Opticians


The next subject was about low vision and care within the community, helping people stay as independent as possible but ensuring they remain safe within their environment at the same time. Which again was engrossing. There are many ingenious tools available to help people with low vision issues.

Alison also attended interactive workshops about different types of ophthalmic lenses and eye conditions. She learnt about new products and how they can help solve issues. The last workshop was about patients’ well-being and eye conditions that can contribute to depression. Again something which we feel needs highlighting. As clinical professionals, we should be more aware of this. And know how to approach the subject and what help is available to our patients and ourselves.

Being qualified and registered with the General Optical Council as a dispensing optician allows Alison to continue her education through the ‘continuing professional development’ program. It ensures she adheres to the standards of practice laid out by the governing body. To follow the guidance working to a specific high level to improve and develop her knowledge and professional skills. Knowing that Respectacle Company staff work within the GOC’s guidelines and to high standards should give our customers peace of mind. And if that means an early Sunday morning start and forgoing a relaxing Sunday, then so be it!

Dispensing Opticians

Whether you need a new pair of specs or are having issues with your vision, Alison and the team are here to help. Visit our Manor Walk practice or call 01858 433577.


Further reading:

Respectacle Company takes a team building trip to the Cotswolds

What we offer our customers as an independent optician

Respectacle Company announces a new addition to their optical team

Respectacle celebrates four fabulous years in Market Harborough