Dr. Patricia Bath Set To Make History As First Black Woman Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame


February 24, 2021

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Dr. Patricia Bath is set to make history as the first Black woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of FamePR Newswire reports.


Bath got her start in the 1970s, completing an Ophthalmology residency at NYU before becoming the first Black woman appointed to UCLA’s surgical staff in 1975. That same year, she became the first woman to lead a post-graduate training program in Ophthalmology. Her work would lead her to many places as she blazed a trail in medicine, eventually inventing the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986 using the Excimer Laser. She also developed a device and method for cataract surgery and becoming the first Black woman to receive a medical patent. 

Throughout her career, Bath would receive five U.S. patents. Her device and method helped eye surgeons restore and improve vision for millions of patients worldwide. She was also the first physician to document the disproportionate rate of blindness among Black people compared to other racial groups. In 1976, Bath co-founded the American Institute for Prevention of Blindness to address those racial vision inequities. Bath’s Laserphaco technique has been used in one million of the twenty million cataract surgeries performed every year. Today, her method has been semi-automated by computers, software, and robotics. 

The world-renowned Ophthalmologist passed away in 2019, and her family is working on getting her inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Bath has been nominated for induction 11 times and would be the only Black woman out of 603 inventors to be a member of the prestigious Hall of Fame. 


Her daughter, Dr. Eraka Bath, associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, spoke about the importance of her mother’s invention and induction, saying, “My mother’s invention is as significant to the laser cataract surgery industry as Bell’s telephone is to the telecommunications industry and Edison’s light bulb is to the electric lighting industry. Being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame would be an amazing honor.”

For more information about Dr. Bath’s life and work, click here. To nominate Dr. Bath for consideration to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, click here


Thank you for your groundbreaking work, Dr. Bath!

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Patricia Bath

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