Black History Month: Facts #14

Dr. Patricia Bath – Ophthalmologist, Inventor

“Eyesight is a basoc human right.” Dr. Patricia Bath (1942 – 2019) has a long list of ‘firsts’, achievements, and patents attributed to her.

Dr. Bath was born in Harlem to Rupert and Gladys Bath; Gladys was a housewife, while Rupert was the first Black motorman for the NYC Subway System. Patricia graduated from High School on 2 years, earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Hunter College in 1964, and a Medical Degree (with Honors) from Howard in 1968.

Among her many accomplishments:

the first African American to complete a Residency in Ophthamology (1973)

– the first female faculty member in the Department of Opthamology at UCLA

– in 1976, co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness

– the first African American female to receive a Medical patent, in 1986, for the ‘Laserphaco Probe’, used in cataract surgery

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