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Bonnielin Swenor, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Bonnielin Swenor, M.P.H., Ph.D.
  • Core Faculty Member at the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health
  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology


Epidemiology, Ophthalmology

Research Interests

Ophthalmology; Visual impairment; Low Vision; Aging; Epidemiology


Bonnielin Swenor is an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also a Core Faculty Member at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health.

Dr. Swenor's research aims to improve the health of people with visual impairments and is fueled by her personal experience living with a visual disability. To achieve this, Dr. Swenor and her group have concentrated on three interrelated areas: (1) Vision and Aging: This research aims to improve the health and well-being of individuals with visual impairments across the lifespan, with a focus on older adults; (2) Access to Care: This area of research focuses on identifying health care disparities and improving healthcare utilization, quality, and access for patients with vision loss; and (3) Disability Inclusion: By identifying and addressing barriers for persons with visual impairments and other disabilities in the biomedical workforce and other settings, Dr. Swenor is working to increase disability inclusion.

Dr. Swenor and her team are now expanding on this research framework to more broadly examine Disability Health. This area of research examines disability – including visual impairment - as a health disparity population, and uses an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to establish the evidence needed to design effective policies and programs that will reduce disability disparities. The overarching goals of this research are to maximize health, equity, and participation for persons with all types of disabilities.

Dr. Swenor received her master of public health and doctorate degrees in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Institute on Aging prior to joining the Wilmer faculty. She holds a joint appointment with the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. more


  • Core Faculty Member at the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health
  • Core Faculty Member at the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology
  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (2013)
  • M.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (2009)
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University (Pennsylvania) (2001)

Additional Training

National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD/USA, 2014

Research & Publications


The Swenor Research Group focuses on examining the interrelationship between vision loss and aging. This includes determining the effects of visual impairment and eye disease - with a focus on age-related macular degeneration - on physical and cognitive functioning in older adults and identifying interventions that could enhance the health of older adults with visual impairment and eye disease. To achieve our goals, we rely on a highly collaborative approach working with investigators across multiple departments, including geriatrics, neurology, and public health. 

Lab Website: Swenor Research Group

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Swenor BK, Wang J, Varadaraj V, Rosano C, Yaffe K, Albert M, Simonsick EM. Vision Impairment and Cognitive Outcomes in Older Adults: The Health ABC Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Aug 16;74(9):1454-1460

Zheng DD, Swenor BK, Christ SL, West SK, Lam BL, Lee DJ. Longitudinal Associations Between Visual Impairment and Cognitive Functioning: The Salisbury Eye Evaluation Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018 Jun 28.

Swenor BK, Lee MJ, Varadaraj V, Whitson HE, Ramulu PY. Aging With Vision Loss: A Framework for Assessing the Impact of Visual Impairment on Older Adults. Gerontologist. 2019 Aug 24. pii: gnz117

Varadaraj V, Frick KD, Saaddine JB, Friedman DS, Swenor BK. Trends in Eye Care Use and Eyeglasses Affordability: The US National Health Interview Survey, 2008-2016. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019 Apr 1;137(4):391-398

Swenor B, Meeks LM. Disability Inclusion - Moving Beyond Mission Statements. N Engl J Med. 2019 May 30;380(22):2089-2091.

Contact for Research Inquiries

600 N. Wolfe Street
Wilmer 116
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-614-2874

Videos & Media

On the Front Lines of Low Vision

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

High Sights for Low Vision - Hopkins Medicine (Winter 2019)

Losing Vision and Gaining Perspective - JAMA (Feb 2019)

How to Improve Care for Patients with Disabilities? We Need More Providers Like Them - JHM News (June 2019)

What Medicine Can Learn From Doctors and Researchers with Disabilities - NPR (June 2019)

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