Canterbury Christ Church University Optical Dispensing

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Canterbury Christ Church University Optical Dispensing

Dispensing Opticians need to be able to interpret prescriptions (as issued by an optometrist or opthalmologist) to correct a refractive error of sight abnormality and use this information to advise patients on spectacles or contact lenses to improve their vision.

Based on their extensive practical skills, combined with applied technical and product knowledge, a Dispensing Optician will recommend the use of specific frame types, lens forms, tints, coatings etc, taking into account the patient’s anatomical features to ensure a comfortable fit. It’s also important that the patient is happy with the way their spectacles look, and that they fit their lifestyle needs. Dispensing Opticians therefore need excellent communication skills to work with their patients during consultations.

Dispensing Opticians work closely with optical laboratories who they commission to make up bespoke orders; and need to be able to carry out rigorousl checks against the original specifications before final fittings with the patient.

What will I study?

In Year One you’ll be introduced to:

  • the basic optical principles of the nature of light, formation of images produced by plane surfaces and the behaviour of light when meeting different media at interfaces that are not plane
  • the structure of the eye, vision, the colour sense and photometry
  • the form and material properties of ophthalmic lenses and the behaviour of plano-prisms and prismatic lenses
  • the interrelationships of frame and facial measurements
  • communication with patients and a patient-focused approach to decision making utilising information in the workplace to support professional development in theory and practice.

In Year Two you’ll be introduced to:

  • the legal, professional and ethical responsibilities of optical team staff
  • a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the human eye
  • critical review and analysis related to work practices
  • optical considerations of complex prescriptions and the solutions that can be adopted when dispensing
  • aspects of dispensing related to patients in the practice setting and the use of visual task analysis
  • the development of critical skills necessary to evaluate evidence underpinning practice
  • application of knowledge and skills to review and analyse work-based issues.

In year one there will be more focus on the essential study skills perspective but in year two the focus will be encouraging and commenting on the learner’s skill to engage in academic discussion and critically use the relevant literature. At both levels you’ll be expected to manage your own learning and reflect upon this in your personal development portfolio, demonstrating a developing ability to communicate through a variety of media and improving your communication with others in the workplace, especially patients.

How to apply

You’ll need to submit the following completed documentation:

ABDO College application form

ABDO membership form

Canterbury Christ Church University Registration Form

GOC student registration form

Criminal Records Bureau form

Evidence of cover by professional indemnity insurance

Evidence of prior certificated or experiential learning (if appropriate)

Supervisors’ declaration of support

Student learning agreement

Plagiarism policy student declaration

All of the material needed to apply for the Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing is available by contacting:

ABDO College Distance Learning Institute on 01227 733901 or