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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Should I use a cane?

I am a 22-year old in Arizona, and am totally blind in my right eye and partially sighted in my left eye. I have retinopathy of prematurity. My vision in my left eye is 20/200 uncorrected and 20/50 at best correction (I think). I have problems with depth perception and night vision, and cannot drive. Because I have difficulty seeing things if not in a brightly lit area at night, and because I cannot see anything on my right side, should I ask about using a long cane to help me navigate? I feel awkward asking, since the vision in my left eye can still be corrected. Is there anyone else who is blind in one eye who uses a cane to help them navigate? I'd also like to know if O&M training now is a good idea, since it is distinctly possible my vision may deteriorate at a later date.

There are currently 19 replies


Re:Should I use a cane?



The other reason I'd kind of like to know if a cane would be helpful is also to let people know I can't see them if they're on my right. I run into people or things on my right side b/c I can't see them, and have had a couple of close calls crossing the street b/c I did not see a car coming. Thanks!


Re:Should I use a cane?



Hi Megan,

The decision to use a cane is a pretty persoanl one. I have no vision in my left and some vision in my right. When my vision was better I did use a cane for identification purposes. It did help when I would run into someone, or would trip off a curb. With a cane people didn't think I was a rude or a klutz. *grin*


Re:Should I use a cane?



Hi,
I think you know the answer. If you are thinking about using a cane, then you need to. From what you write, I'm sure of it. I went around for years trying to avoid it and pretending I could see better than I did. When I finally started using one, it made a great difference in my life and in my outlook. Today, I don't go anywhere without mine and I feel surer, better, and confidiant
Annie


Re:Should I use a cane?



Whoops. Forgot one thing. By all means take some lessons from a OM specialist. They will help a lot. Oh! Beware, at least some of the time, they will want you to wear pads so you can't see any thing. It was a little frightening but stick with it. Let me know how it goes. Annie


Re:Should I use a cane?



I am new to this blindness thing myself and I fully believe that whatever aids are out there we should all use and learn how to use them. We can not hide in our houses and wither away. I am learning mobility training now (cane) and it has made a big differnece in the way i get around. I am not afraid to fall down stairs, break bones or bump into things. GO NOW and learn


Re:Should I use a cane?



Hi May name is Angie and i'm 15 years old. I'm leagally blind in one eye, highly nyopic in the other. I also have problems with depth perception and cannot drive. I also ask myself the same question. I have a cane and i use it for street croosings, but I HATE to use it.


Re:Should I use a cane?



Megan,
I noticed its been a while sense you posted your question about using a cane. Have you decided? I know its a big step and an admission about yourself but I found it really made a world of difference to me and I'ld never go anywhere with mine. We go to work together by bus and I even carry it along on dates. The guys don't seen to mind!
Saw the note from the girl who hates hers -- well I'm not crazy about having to use one either but I'm sure she perfers it to getting flattened by a bus. Let us know what you decide.
Ann


Re:Should I use a cane?



I have had some close calls crossing streets too! I have 20/60 20/80 vision but I have no depth perception, so I am going to cover my cane once I recieve it with orange tape then put reflective tape at the top and bottom. My vision is good to see up close but not good enough to get around (except my house & limited paces in my church). I have to crawl down stairs as I miss the step every time!

T. J.


Re:Should I use a cane?



yes use the cane. i hade the same problem four years ago. now im totaly blind. i use a cane sometimes now. mostley my seeingeye dog. teubert02@hotmail.com


Re:Should I use a cane?



I got my cane, I got advice from a friend of mine to use contact paper on my cane instead of tape (as contact paper can be removed easier). I'll remove the contact paper as soon or if I become legally blind. Until then I can cary the cane since it is not totally white.

T. J.


Re:Should I use a cane?



Hurrah!
You finally did it. Now comes the hard part; at least it was for me. First, I wouldn't worry about carrying an all white cane, I never been stopped or questioned and I use what sight I have to the max. Anyhow, as you describe your sight, I'm sure the AFB would come to your resecue. By the way, they might be the place to start looking for some instruction. A cane is only going to be as useful as possible if you know how to use it.
Secondly, I went through a couple of months trying NOT to rely on it and further kidding myself. Finally, a friend just up and told me one day, we all know you have this cane. Use it before you break something! Anyhow, I started using it everywhere I went, even when I was with someone and inside of a couple of months, you couldn't drag me out of the house without it. You might think of inviting your buddies to a party and make it a coming out party for the two of yoou. By the way most of my girl friends were happy I taken the plunge and most guys I knew were too. My boss was pleased and I still have an office job with the company that's pretty good.
You all let me know how its going and just as Anne about anything.
Good Luck & Welcome to the Club


Re:Should I use a cane?



I didn't think anyone would still be posting replies to this comment thread so long after the original post! To answer Anne's question: yes, I did talk to the O&M specialist in the Institute for Human Development at the university and got both a folding cane and long cane training. It's helped enormously; I don't use the cane all the time, but it's invaluable at night for me, and I also use it when crossing busier streets. It's amazing; people stop for me now! Thanks to everyone who commented for the excellent advice.


Re:Should I use a cane?



Sounds like me! Since my last post, my vision has gotten worse. This is what it now is (cooected): close up - (left eye) 20/30 (right eye) 20/80. Distance - (left eye) 20/200 (right eye) 20/120. Both eyes together 20/70 (distance) 20/20 close up. I have no depth perception to speak of. Also my eyes are crossed.

T. J.


Re:Should I use a cane?



Hi Megan, my name is David Hoppman. I am 30 years old and blind since birth. I've used a cane for as long as I can remember it helps you be more independent. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Glad to hear that you are adjusting to your situation. If you ever want to talk about blindness issues or anything else at all feel free to e-mail me at: dhoppman@earthlink.net anytime you want.


Re:Should I use a cane?



hi yes you should for years i didnt use one and i would run in to things and people and people didnt know that i was leaguly blind tile a started using the white cane now the notice and they move to the side or stop couse I cant see them the cane will be like a pare of eyes to you that is what i tell everyone when they ask me why I use one so I can see where I am going yes you will get looked and and people will talk but after a wile it want bouther you any more if you ever want to talk my email is joseph168@centurytel.net


Re:Should I use a cane?



Wow people in the same half-blind, blind-sighted boat as me Wow, yes I know I sound for that I know there are other people in this with the same sistation as due to the same stuff, I was blind in my right due to ROP and have some sight in myleft 20/200 with my glasses, with them on no idea, never asked anyhow's I've been a cane user for 2 and I'll guess that line "YOu have sight you don't need that stick" I need to do like my old vison and so to speak jump on 'em, wait I do any how's Ms its truly up to you if want to learn the use of the cane, but believe me if helps, I don't tip over the crub as much, or run in the wall be I didn't see it. so yeah good luck!


Re:Should I use a cane?



Just ran accross your question again. I saw your answer about getting a cane but not using it all the time. Reminded me of when I started. Just wondered if you still onlt use it once in a while or, like me, found things so much better with it that I'm never without mind.
Annie


Re:Should I use a cane?



Well I know this board has been long dead but it really got my attention. I'm currently deciding whether or not to use a cane for night travel. I have RP which takes away my peripheral vision and causes complete night blindness. I have limited but decent day time vision, and no night vision at all. So like several of you who have posted, I understand being blind but not being blind. Most people just think I'm incredibly klutsy. I really want to gain more independence at night but I'm afraid of what people will think when I put away the cane as I walk into a well lit house. I've really enjoyed reading all of the posts on here and if anyone reading this has any advice or would like to chat on the matter I'm at Trinity2215@aol.com. Take care!


Re: Should I use a cane?



It aslo depends on your feeling towards pets. Dogs die in a relatively short period of time and I am sure the heart break of losing a guide dog must be 100x worse then losing a pet.
I can pray for you loss if you like at: http://theblind.us/


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