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Thread: White canes!

  1. #1
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    White canes!

    I have a fairly unique (I think!) problem here! I am visually impaired, legally blind (visual acuity of <3/60) in my right eye, and have a acuity of 6/12-6/9 in my left eye. I also have blind spots in my vision. I should add that I am able to drive and do have a driving licence and my own car.

    My condition means that my pupils don't react to light, therefore I am photosensitive in bright light and very sensitive to glare (including cloudy days where the cloud cover is white). I have no 3-D vision. As I've had this condition since I was born, I've learned ways of seeing differences in surfaces using shadows (at least, that's what I think I've done!). This works ok in most circumstances, but is tiring for me.

    However, night-time is a different matter. I don't see well in the dark, due to my pupils not dilating, and the lack of shadows means I cannot judge depth. This makes it hard for me to see changes in the surface I'm walking on. Last night I found myself anxious at the thought of walking home from a friends alone, simply because it was dark, even though the route is very familiar to me. I do want to learn a way of coping with this, so I went to see someone today, who has referred me to the local low vision team, who will send a rehabilitation officer out. He suggested using a cane (not necessarily a long cane I don't think!) but due to the fact I drive, I wonder whether I'll even be allowed to have one!

    Has anyone got any advice? I hate being in this little void between not fully sighted, but properly partially sighted either!

  2. #2
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    My daughter is 25 now but is registered legally blind, she has bilateral nystagmus and corneal scarring. She uses a small white symbol cane, I think you have to have training to use a long cane, my daughter who is very independent didn't fancy the long cane. The small symbol cane folds up and is very easy to carry, regrards Denise

  3. #3
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    Very surprised your allowed to drive with such low vision, absolutely no way my daughter could drive sadly x

  4. #4
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    Just to clarify - only my right eye has such low vision. In the UK you are allowed to drive with sight only in one eye, providing you can read a numberplate at 20.5m and an acuity of 6/12 overall, so I just meet the standards, I wouldn't be able to drive anything bigger than a car though.

  5. #5
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    Apologies for confusion, I would recommend the folding symbol cane however for when your out etc x

  6. #6
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    Cool White symbol canes

    Quote Originally Posted by ikandee View Post
    Apologies for confusion, I would recommend the folding symbol cane however for when your out etc x
    Hello Horsegirl...I'm a retired Home Teacher for the Blind & Rehab / mobility trainer. A symbol cane is just that; it isn't gonna get you from A - B in the dark. It's what you HEAR that gets you around in the dark & you need to be trained by a rehab / mobility officer from your local authority or voluntary service for the visually impaired where one might be based. You'll be surprised at what you can learn ! As for driving, there's no reason why you shouldn't drive with an acuity of 6/12 in one eye, just as pilots flew in the war with one eye, if your field of vision is good enough. Meanwhiles, it helps to wear shoes you can hear on the pavements & listen to the change in 'tones'...the rise & fall of sounds. If you don't know where you are, stand still & listen to the sounds around you...clicking fingers can indicate an echo or obstacle & if you suspect steps or a down kerb, you can stretch out your stick & tickle the ground in front of you. Our training back in the 80's involved us travelling / walking around Birmingham City centre under blindfold using a long cane & making our way to Birmingham New Street station...hair-raising but top-notch training which, afterwards, qualified us to teach others ! Good luck...

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the reply Freckles, sorry for the delay!

    Do you think that being able to drive would exclude me from using a symbol or guide cane? I can also imagine it would be helpful in busy situations, which I can find stressful as I find it hard to see a 'clear' route through, and I often end up bumping into people. I'm thinking a cane may help people to realise I'm visually impaired. However, I'm still concerned that I can't get out of a car and unfold a cane!

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