How to use a sighted guide if you’re visually impaired

Simon explains the benefits of using sighted guides and the best practice.


In this video Simon Merrill, a resident rehab officer with visual impairment, discusses the concept of sighted guiding and its benefits. Sighted guiding is a technique used by visually impaired individuals to navigate unfamiliar places with the assistance of a sighted person.

Simon explains that he uses a long cane for mobility but finds it challenging to memorise unfamiliar routes, especially for one-off trips like attending a concert or going to the airport. Sighted guiding becomes crucial in such situations as it allows him to rely on a sighted person to guide him efficiently.

The primary technique for sighted guiding is for the visually impaired person to hold onto the sighted person’s elbow while the sighted guide keeps their guiding hand close to their stomach. This ensures a safe and steady movement, although the visually impaired person needs to remember that they are now twice as wide as before.

Communication during sighted guiding is essential. Some visually impaired individuals prefer to know details about the journey, while others may only need updates on their location. Obstacles like steps, bollards, and street signs should be communicated to ensure safety.

Simon emphasises the importance of avoiding physical links while sighted guiding, as it can lead to potential accidents if one person falls. Instead, they should maintain a breakable connection for safety purposes.

In conclusion, sighted guiding is a valuable technique that provides visually impaired individuals with a safe and efficient means of navigating unfamiliar environments. Simon suggests contacting local rehab officers or Henshaws for further information about sighted guiding.

The video also mentions that there are other technical videos available, not just on sighted guiding but also on various technologies and techniques for people with visual impairments.

Henshaws graphic with pink and purple shapes

Learn how to get involved

From fundraising events to volunteering, there are plenty of ways to give to make a difference at Henshaws

Accreditations & Awards