Orientation and Mobility Training

Getting Around Safely -- Indoors and Out

"I can shop for myself without anyone's help."

If you've experienced vision loss, you may feel uncomfortable about your safety and be reluctant to travel because of the reduced ability to detect visual clues. Professional skills training provided by an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instructor can help you, whether you have reduced, or no, vision.

Lighthouse O&M instructors can assess your skills, and teach you techniques to get around independently and for navigating your home, neighborhood and work environments. These include:

  • Methods for gathering information from your surroundings that may have been gathered previously by just looking around
  • Methods for making your home safe
  • Techniques for climbing stairs, avoiding falls and injuries, crossing streets, travel within your community, riding buses and taking the subway

Some of the orientation and mobility problems you may experience include:

  • Loss of depth perception -- making it difficult to identify how high or low a step or curb is
  • Loss of contrast sensitivity -- making it hard to see curbs or steps, or not being able to differentiate between a puddle or a hole in the sidewalk
  • Color or distance problems -- making it difficult to determine if the "walk" signal is on or off, or the writing on street signs
  • Seeing spots that block central vision -- making it hard to identify landmarks or detect obstacles in one's path
  • Loss of visual field -- making it problematic to move around easily due to restricted peripheral vision
  • Inability to see and identify faces -- making it possibly embarrassing when talking to, or ignoring, a person nearby

To move about confidently and safely, you can learn to utilize any, or all, of the following: your remaining vision and other senses, another person, a white cane or a dog guide. The method(s) chosen will be determined by your current visual status, the ability to detect dangerous obstacles (such as stairs, curbs, moving vehicles or people) in enough time to react safely and, of course, personal preference.

For more information, or to make an appointment, call (212) 821-9200 or email visionrehab@lighthouse.org.



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