Getting around

With the right information and support you can get around independently, even when your central vision worsens. There are many apps you can download for mobile pUsing technology leaflethones for help with getting around and using public transport.

Download Using Technology for details.

Walking

There are ways to tell when it’s safe to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing. Some crossings make a noise, while others have a small cone-shaped bump or a vibrating plate under the control box, which will move when it’s safe to cross. 

Rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired (ROVIs) teach skills to help people get around confidently and independently, when at home or out and about. ROVIs are generally employed by adult social services or a local society for visually impaired people.

A symbol cane is a short cane, which folds up, that indicates you have sight loss, while a guide cane can warn you of hazards such as steps, kerbs and obstacles. A red and white cane or stick indicates hearing and sight loss. Most guide and long canes can be folded up.

Driving

Having a macular condition does not automatically mean you have to stop driving, but it is your legal responsibility to check whether your eyesight is good enough to drive.

Download Driving for details.

Public transport

Buses

If you are registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired you can apply for a free off-peak bus pass on local buses in England (9.30am to 11pm Monday to Friday and anytime at weekends and on public holidays). Local time extensions may apply and sometimes the pass can be used on other public transport. Contact your local council for more details.

If you have trouble seeing bus numbers you could use a monocular or hold up an A5 card with the bus number written on it. When the driver spots it they should stop. Many bus companies provide large print timetables. Contact your local service for details.

Some areas have ‘talking buses’, which announce the current stop, next stop and final destination. In a few areas talking bus stops are activated by pressing a button or by carrying a small device that triggers the announcement when it is close to the sensor.

Trains

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has launched the rail travel made easy website, called Disability Onboard, to help you plan a problem-free journey.

If you are registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired you can apply for a Disabled Person’s Railcard for a third off tickets for you and an adult companion. However, make sure you check if there are cheaper advanced tickets before using your railcard. Phone 0845 605 0525 for details.

You can ask rail companies for any assistance you might need, whether it's finding the right platform or your reserved seat. Rail companies recommend booking assistance at least 24 hours in advance. Call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 for more details.

You can also get a priority card from most train companies, which you can show to fellow passengers if you’re not comfortable asking them to give up a priority seat. However, it is not essential to carry a priority card if you would like to ask for a designated priority seat.

London

If you are a permanent London resident, the Freedom Pass enables you to travel free on London public transport if you are aged 60 or over, sight or severely sight impaired, or have another disability. For information on applying, go to the Freedom Pass website.

Planes

When arranging flights you can tell the airline you are visually impaired and they will arrange assistance for when you arrive at the airport.

Blue badges

The blue badge scheme allows disabled people and passengers to park closer to their destination. To apply go to https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge