Out and About with Be My Eyes

Image of a lady wearing blue jeans walking with a guide dog and a cane

It’s summer and it’s the perfect season to be out and about. Whether you’re meeting up with friends in town or you’re at the beach on a holiday, if you are blind or visually impaired, travel and outings can be more accessible when you can get sighted assistance with Be My Eyes.  

Be My Eyes connects blind and visually impaired people to sighted volunteers from all over the globe. You can use their app via RealSAM to reach volunteers who can assist anytime anywhere using your phone’s camera. 

Here are some ways Be My Eyes can help when you’re out and about. 

1. Navigating Outdoor Spaces with Be My Eyes

Navigating can be a challenge for those who are blind and visually impaired.  Usually, familiar places are easier and can be managed with confidence. But there are times when even the usual places become disorienting. Depending on the time of day, the level of traffic, and daylight, varying conditions can make it more difficult to locate landmarks and listen for sounds ques. At the same time, exploring new places can be daunting. 

In situations like these, a Be My Eyes volunteer can be your guide. Volunteers can help describe the surroundings, identify landmarks, and guide you safely to where you need to go.

You can call in and ask:

‘Do you see a bus stop nearby?’

‘I know I’m close to a coffee shop, can you help me find it?’

‘Do you see a path leading to the park exit?’ 

2. Reading Signs

Not even sighted people always know where to go automatically. Most of the time, signs direct people to where they need to go and identify buildings and locations. But what if you can’t see the signs? 

A Be My Eyes volunteer can help you locate, identify, or read signs, storefronts, and addresses. Ask:

‘Can you read me the names of the stores I’m passing?’

‘What are the hours posted on the restaurant door?’

‘Where can I find the food court according to this mall directory?’  

3. Public Transportation Support

Traveling using public transportation becomes more manageable with Be My Eyes. Volunteers can help you read schedules, guide you to train platforms, lifts, and stairs. They can help you with the ticket machine and other public transit details. You’ll be able to travel independently, but still have the support available whenever you need it. 

4. Shopping Independence

From navigating around the store, to finding the right aisles and reading things like signs, sales, tags, labels and sizes, Be My Eyes can help you with shopping. 

Just ask:

‘Can you help me find the swimwear department?’

‘What size is this shirt?’

‘Can you tell me which register is open so I can check out?’ 

5. Assistance at a Restaurant

Not all restaurants offer accessible menus. What if you can’t see the menu on the wall, or the one they hand you at the table? 

With your phone’s camera, a volunteer can read you the menu. You can also ask them to read the ingredients and if available, the nutrition information. They can also describe what the food looks like if there are pictures, giving you a sense of what the dish might be like. 

6. Visual Interpreters from Be My Eyes

Sometimes, when you’re enjoying being out, you don’t need any assistance, you just want to know what’s around you. What can everyone else see? 

Call in while you’re at the beach. A volunteer would be happy to describe how there are a lot of surfers enjoying the waves. That there’s an ice cream vendor a couple of meters away and that there are all types of sea birds sitting on the pier railing. 

Be My Eyes volunteers can be your eyes when you’re out and about! 

By Guenivir Kendrick

 

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