Getting around safely

Safe Travel

A woman using her white cane to cross the streetAt Vision Ireland we understand how getting around safely if you are blind or have low vision can be a challenge. That’s why we have a team of highly skilled Orientation and Mobility instructors who teach the skills required for safe travel, both indoors and outdoors. Mobility training can help you feel more confident when travelling in everyday situations, such as, going to your local shop, or place of work, travelling on public transport or through crowded streets.

Your Orientation & Mobility instructor can show you:

  • How to maximise your residual vision and manage glare.
  • How to use the sighted guide technique.
  • How to make the best use of your other senses.
  • How to use a mobility aid such as a white cane.
  • How the latest technology/Smartphone apps can help.
  • How to make environmental adaptations to assist safe travel.


Choosing the support that’s right for you:

A Guide to Mobility Canes

There are different types of canes and sticks and they have different uses. Some are designed to help with mobility while others are used to let people know you have a vision impairment so that they will give you more time and space.

Symbol cane


Symbol Cane

A symbol cane is used to notify the general public that the person has a vision impairment and might need assistance.

This cane is smaller than other canes and is not used to detect obstacles or level changes in the environment.


Support cane

Support Canes

This cane is generally prescribed by an Occupational Therapist and measured so that the right length is prescribed for the physical impairment.

If you have purchased your own then it is important that the support cane is both the correct type for you and the correct height.

Vision Ireland provide white support canes which alert members of the public that you have a vision impairment.

long white cane


Long Cane

This cane offers the most protection to the user as it is designed to detect obstacles, level changes or changes in ground texture.

The person taps the cane or sweeps it from side to side in front of their body.
Training is important to be able to use the long cane successfully.

Your Community Resource Worker will give you the advice and training required to use the cane effectively and safely. After a consultation, you and your Community Resource Worker will agree on a training plan. You may require several training sessions in order to acquire the skills required to travel your chosen routes safely.

If you would like to learn to use a long cane to travel independently please contact your local CRW for more information.

Support from Family and Friends

Sighted Guide

Blind man and woman

There may be instances even when using a cane that you may require a sighted person to assist you. It may be because the area you are going to is unfamiliar or is known to be very busy or difficult to navigate safely.

Using this approach, the person with the vision impairment holds on to the sighted person’s arm as they walk along. The safe and correct technique can be taught to you and your family or friends by your Community Resource Worker.

Talk to your local CRW about which may be the best options for you. They will work with you to develop a tailor made plan to suit your needs.

Further Information

If you require further information on any of the issues or services raised or you would like to be referred to Vision Ireland Services you can do so in the following ways: