Black History Month: Patricia Bath, M.D.

By Kayleen Williams (Central Oregon Coast NOW Member)

Patricia Bath - Cataract Laserphaco Probe

Please celebrate with me Patricia Bath. Patricia Bath became the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for medical invention, Cataract Laserphaco Probe.

Patricia Bath’s patent #4,744,360 was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate. Born in Harlem, New York, on November 4, 1942, Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973. Two years later, she became the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. In 1976, Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which established that “eyesight is a basic human right.” In 1986, Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, improving treatment for cataract patients. She patented the device in 1988, becoming the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent.

With another invention, Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years. Patricia Bath also holds patents for her invention in Japan, Canada and Europe.

Patricia Bath

Information provided from reading her biography and written information from Mary Bellis writing for Black History month (