Science, Inventions, Medicine, and Aerospace

Black Women Inventors

Who discovered and invented a device for cataract surgery?

Patricia E. Bath (1942–) discovered and invented the laserphaco probe in 1986, a new device for cataract surgery. She is also the first black woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. An ophthalmologist and laser scientist, Bath advocates for blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. She now holds four patents. In 1974 Bath became the first woman ophthalmologist to be appointed to the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine Jules Stein Eye Institute. In 1983 she was the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States. Born in Harlem, she graduated from Hunter College and received her M.D. degree from Howard University.


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