It is amazing what you can learn when you dive into the origins of the who, what, when, where and whys of how certain things come about. Naturally, I have a high interest in health and science, so when I began to look for the origins of certain procedures, medicines and more and how and why we do or don’t utilize them today, I get glued in.
As many of us in the United States know, it is Black History Month and while for me, studying Black/African American history is just as natural and as frequent as eating daily, I do find that educating and sharing the information with those who are just as curious as I allows me the satisfaction that there is another “me” out there who also yearns for correct knowledge on such topics and benefits from it. As is evident by the title of this post, I found the successful endeavors of this particular African American woman, Dr. Bath, to be fascinating.
A very accomplished African American woman inventor in the field of eye health, Dr. Patricia Era Bath is most known for her invention of the Laserphaco Probe which removes cataracts from the eyes using a laser beam. She was the 1st African American to finish residency in ophthalmology (study and treatment of eye disorders) and the 1st woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in 1983 . She was also the first woman to hold a faculty position at UCLA in 1974 in the Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Bath also co-founded the American Institution For the Prevention of Blindness and in 1983 she was the first woman in the USA to be the chair of an ophthalmology training residency training program at Drew-UCLA .
On December 18, 1986 Dr. Bath was the first African American doctor to receive a medical patent for the Laserphaco Probe. Her patent was granted in the United States under “An Apparatus for Ablating and Removing Cataract Lenses” on May 17, 1988, Patent No. 4,744,360 .
Dr. Patricia Bath’s accomplishments go much, much further including another patent in which to use pulsed ultrasound to remove cataracts in 2000. Her patents are located in three other countries which you can learn more about on her website as well as here (including video interviews).
If you or someone you know is a Health Hero, we encourage you to share your story.