Cane use and late onset visual impairment

Hersh, M. (2015) Cane use and late onset visual impairment. Technology and Disability, 27(3), pp. 103-116. (doi: 10.3233/TAD-150432)

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BACKGROUND: Despite the importance of the (long) cane as a mobility device, there are few reports of blind and partially sighted people's experiences of using it. Due to the increasing prevalence of visual impairment with age, the experiences of people with late onset visual impairment are particularly relevant. OBJECTIVE: To report on the experiences of and attitudes to cane use by blind and partially sighted people with late onset visual impairment in seven different countries. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were carried out, almost all in the participants' original languages and without interpretation. RESULTS: The main themes identified and under which the results were discussed were (i) stigma, psychological and other barriers to cane use; (ii) safety concerns; (iii) acceptance and adaptation to cane use (iv) cane use as a symbol of blindness; and (v) formal and informal training. A table of the factors which encourage and discourage cane use and a six-component model were presented. CONCLUSIONS: The similarities between countries were more apparent than the differences. Stigma associated with cane use was found to result in shame and embarrassment and concerns about being stared at, particularly by people who knew them when they were sighted.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hersh, Dr Marion
Authors: Hersh, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Technology and Disability
Publisher:IOS Press

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