Occasionally for people impacted by blindness, travelling with a sighted guide may be more effective, for example in crowded situations like office parties, at street crossings or in unfamiliar places. People who have recently lost their sight often travel with a sighted guide. Some may still choose to use other mobility aids, such as a long cane, while they are also making use of a sighted guide.

A specific technique is used when acting as a sighted guide that is designed to be respectful of people impacted by blindness and their independence. In this technique, the person with blindness will gently grasp a sighted guide’s arm from behind, just above the elbow.

The guide will hold their arm in a straight, relaxed position, and the person with blindness will stand to the side about half a step behind. The person with blindness will also keep their arm relaxed, with the elbow bent at about 90 degrees and held close to the body. The sighted guide and the person with blindness will then walk comfortably in tandem.

For more about this technique, please see The CNIB Foundation’s “Step-by-Step” video.