International African Inventors Museum IAI Museum Homeemail
Featured Inventors
Mark E. Dean
Patricia Bath
Carlton L. Gyles
Issa Odidi
Joseph E. Dadson
Juliet M. Daniel
Warren Salmon
Jude Igwemezie
Charles Drew
William Peyton Hubbard
Elijah McCoy
Dr. Patricia Bath, M.D.
Dr. Patricia Bath, M.D., is the inventor of the cataract Laserphacoprobe, which is the medical instrument to remove cataracts from the eye. Dr. Bath was the first Black Female Surgeon appointed to UCLA in 1975, and is credited with the founding of the Student National Medical Association along with other Howard University students, and was its first president. Together with associates and colleagues, founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and with limited funding provided free vision screening services to undeserved communities. Dr. Bath holds several firsts:
  • First African American woman surgeon at Drew Medical School
  • First Woman Program Director (Chief) of a Postgraduate training program at Drew
  • First Woman Chair of Ophthalmology in the history of the United States from 1983-1986, Drew-UCLA Residency Program
  • First Woman Faculty Ophthalmologist of UCLA Department of Ophthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute with her appointment in 1975
  • First Woman elected to Honorary Medical Staff of UCLA Medical Center upon her retirement in 1993
  • Elected to Hunter College Hall of Fame in 1988
  • Elected as Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine in 1993
As the first African American female physician/inventor, Dr. Bath in the early part of her career devoted herself to the prevention of blindness in the United States and internationally. Her intense interest, experience and research on cataracts culminated in 1985-1986 with her invention of a new device and method to remove cataracts. With this invention, Dr. Patricia Bath was able to recover the sight of several individuals who had been blind over 30 years. As a laser scientist and inventor, Dr. Bath has five patents on a laser cataract surgery device covering the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe.