The white cane is one of many mobility aids used by people of all ages who are blind or have low vision.
A cane can assist with safety, mobility, balance and independence. Canes help users to check for objects and information in their path of travel, such as a change in ground surface, and they also help identify potential hazards like steps and curbs.
White canes can also help the wider community identify that a person is blind or has low vision. This can be useful in situations such as crowded areas, accessing public transport and when crossing roads.
Vision Australia offers a variety of cane types:
Support (orthopaedic) canes
Support canes are used as a means of physical support to aid balance for clients who have low vision. These canes can be folding or rigid.
This cane does not preview or detect objects in the path of travel. A support cane aids mobility by broadening a person's base of support and improving balance. This can also increase the user's confidence.
ID canes are often used by clients when they are being guided by another person.
This cane folds, is lightweight, can easily be stored in a bag and can provide some lower body protection.
Long (mobility) canes
These canes are very effective when used to detect obstacles, curbs, steps, uneven ground and or changes in ground surfaces. These canes are either folding or rigid.
For long (mobility) canes in particular, orientation and mobility specialists train users in a standard technique.
These canes are principally long canes and are compact in size and weight. Most often this cane is used as an emergency or back up cane.
Many different brands produce specialist canes that may be preferred by clients.
It is important that all clients are assessed by an orientation and mobility specialist to ensure they are prescribed the correct cane that best meets their needs.
Training by an orientation and mobility specialist is also necessary to ensure the cane is used correctly and safely. The wrong cane or incorrect use of it can result in a safety risk to the client and/or those around them.
Click here for more information on how an orientation and mobility specialist can help you get around safely.