Dr. Patricia Bath, Inventor Of Cataract Treatment, Dies At 76

Dr. Patricia Bath, Inventor Of Cataract Treatment, Dies At 76

According to a recent statement from her daughter Dr. Eraka Bath, her mother passed away on May 30 from complications of cancer at the University of California Medical Center.

Dr. Patricia Bath, a pioneering ophthalmologist best known for her efforts in bringing a more precise treatment of cataracts, passed away recently at the age of 76. She was the first female African American doctor to receive a medical patent following her groundbreaking treatment discovery for treating cataracts with more precision. 



 

According to a recent statement from her daughter Dr. Eraka Bath, her mother passed away on May 30 from complications of cancer at the University of California Medical center.



 

Dr. Bath's humble origins began in Harlem, New York, where she was born on November 4, 1942, to a mother who was a domestic worker, and a father, a Trinidadian immigrant who worked with the bustling city's subway system. 



 

Young Patricia Bath was an exceptionally bright student who excelled in academics. She bagged a National Science Foundation Scholarship while she was just a teenager and completed high school in just two and a half years. After studying physics and chemistry at Hunter College, she went on to attend Howard University’s medical school and graduated in 1968. 



 

Dr. Bath became the first African American woman to study at Columbia University where she completed a fellowship in 1970. In 1973, she completed her residency training at the reputed New York University. Following her remarkable academic journey, Dr. Bath went on to join UCLA Medical Center's ophthalmology team, where she was not just the first Black female surgeon on staff but was also the first woman on the faculty of the Stein Eye Institute. 



 

The most remarkable achievement of her illustrious career was when in 1980, Dr. Bath joined the team that was researching the use of lasers in ophthalmology. Her research resulted in groundbreaking methods to tackle cataracts, which she patented in 1988.



 

Aside from patenting the Laserphaco Probe, which is short for "laser photoablative cataract surgery", Dr. Bath held five other U.S. patents and authored more than 100 papers. Despite retiring from UCLA in 1993, she still traveled the world and delivered lectures as well. 



 

Dr. Bath is survived by her daughter, UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Eraka Bath, her brother, as well as a granddaughter. 

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