Photo of Bonnie Swenor, PhD

Development of a Novel Technology to Connect Patients with Vision Loss: The Low Vision Connect App

Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, M.P.H.
Johns Hopkins Medicine

TITLE OF PROJECT:  Development of a Novel Technology to Connect Patients with Vision Loss: The Low Vision Connect App

Funded for Two Years with matching funds provided by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF).

The goal of this proposal is to develop and test the “Low Vision Connect” application.  This accessible mobile technology platform will connect patients with visual impairments in peer-to-peer mentoring relationships around a specified goal.  The application provides a forum whereby people with vision loss related to living with low vision, and will provide opportunities to enhance self-efficacy by both obtaining and sharing knowledge and advice.  Patients will be matched via a user-driven, flexible matching algorithm, meaning the user can identify and rank the characteristics on which to be matched for each pairing request.  For example, a patient with age-related macular degeneration seeking advice on caring for grandchildren may want to connect with other grandparents or parents with retinal disease, given their likely common experiences.

The potential impact of this application is far-reaching, as this technology can be expanded to any disease or patient population and serve as a framework to enhance social interaction, self-efficacy and mental well-being.

Bonnielin Swenor is an associate professor at The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Wilmer Eye Institute and in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She is the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center, which aims to shift the paradigm from ‘living with a disability’ to ‘thriving with a disability’ through research, education, and policy.

Dr. Swenor’s research is motivated by her personal experience with low vision. Her work takes a data-driven approach to advancing health equity for people with disabilities. To achieve this, she focuses on three areas: (1) developing novel methods to assess and track health and healthcare inequities for people with disabilities; (2) testing innovative strategies to reduce these inequities, and (3) building approaches that promote disability inclusion in research and higher education.