White Cane Safety Day and World Sight Day

White Cane Safety Day has been celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964, when a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, H.R. 753, was signed into law as Pub.L. 88-628 This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation. White Cane Day is also celebrated internationally. The date is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

Here is a listing of White Cane Safety Day events.

More About White Canes

Each state has laws that pertain to pedestrians with white canes or dog guides. Some states require that drivers stop for blind people using white canes or guide dogs, and others only require that drivers yield to people using white canes or dog guides.

Your Rights: Practicing Self Advocacy provides more detail about these laws and others. Does the Cane Have to be White to Be Effective contains more information about the use of the white cane and white cane laws.

World Sight Day

World Sight Day—an international day of awareness for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and VISION 2020 was just held this month.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates:

  • About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide.
  • 39 million are blind, and
  • 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment).
  • Preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
  • 65% of visually impaired, and 82% of blind people are over 50 years of age, although this age group comprises only 20% of the world population