White canes can be useful, both to get around and indicate to others that you are visually impaired and may require assistance. Because many people with LHON do not appear visually impaired, symbol canes are often used to indicate a visual impairment and let others in crowded or unfamiliar environments know that they need some space or support.
Social Services within your local council can provide you with canes and can explain the different types available. They can also teach you techniques and skills to use them effectively to travel around independently.
If your sight loss is registered, you can get up to a third off rail tickets by applying for a Disabled Persons Railcard. You can buy a one-year or three-year railcard and it entitles you, plus a person you are travelling with, a third off the fare.
National Rail services provide help to people with sight impairment, whether that’s a guide around a station or help boarding and getting off trains. If you need assistance when travelling by rail, it’s best to book assistance at least 24 hours in advance. You can do this by phoning the train operating company directly, or you can request assistance from National Rail.
National Rail assistance can be requested by:
- Telephone: 0800 0223720
- Text: 60083
- App: Passenger Assistance
Travel by bus
Many local councils issue blind and partially sighted people a bus pass which gives you free travel on local buses. Because the regulations for discounted or free bus travel vary from area to area, you should contact your local council for more information.
Crossing the road
All traffic lights should have either an audible or tactile signal to indicate the green man has appeared. The audible signal will be a beeping sound and the tactile indicator can be found under the push button control box in the form of a cone that spins when it’s safe to cross. For more information, visit this government website.