Talking Vision: Travelling 3000km a month with a white cane

07 October 2021

Four years ago, Edwin couldn’t fathom walking with a white cane.

Now it’s a part of him.

The 63-year-old has glaucoma and lives a very active life, travelling across NSW independently.

“Pre-Covid I was doing approximately 3,000km a month, travelling on buses, ferries, taking people and friends to Sydney,” he told Vision Australia Radio’s Talking Vision.

It’s a stark contrast to where he was in 2017.

“When my partner passed away I didn’t handle that well and as a result neglected myself and my medication which increased the reduction of my eyesight,” he said.

“I’d been in denial for a while.”

Edwin’s experience is common for those with vision loss.

Many find it hard to cope with the diagnosis and struggle to accept help.

Edwin began to change his mind when he came in contact with Vision Australia’s orientation and mobility specialist Carolina Canavezzi.

“We had a very challenging conversation about starting to use a white cane,” she said.

Vision Australia’s orientation and mobility specialists are trained to teach people who are blind or have low vision unique ways to help them navigate. From going down stairs, avoiding curbs and hazards and mapping an environment through the feedback of a white cane.

Making the decision to seek help is often the hardest part of the journey, Carolina said.

“It will open so many doors, you have so many opportunities.

“Don’t think twice. Take that first step. We don’t bite.”

Edwin’s training developed to a point where he could start making suggestions on what would suit him better.

“I walk quite quickly and I would stab myself a lot by walking into my cane,” he said.

“So now I tend to hold the cane to my side, because I’m walking quite some distances and quite some time so I’m more relaxed with the cane by my side.”

Listen to the full interview in the player below:

Talking Vision is a weekly discussion of issues relating to blindness and low vision.

It includes stories of inspiration and achievement and information on services for the community.

Tell us your story by emailing talkingvision@visionaustralia.org