Dr. Patricia E. Bath

Dr. Patricia E. Bath is a world-famous ophthalmologist. After excelling in her studies at high school and university and earning plaudits for her investigations in cancer research as early as age sixteen, Dr. Bath embarked on an illustrious medical career.

For over thirty years, Dr. Bath’s research and career objectives have been directed toward the prevention, care and treatment of blindness. Her impressive accomplishments include the invention and subsequent acquisition of a patent for an “apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses” named the Laserphaco Probe; introduction of a discipline, community ophthalmology; and co-founding of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.

The Laserphaco Probe “consists of an optical laser fiber surrounded by irrigation and aspiration [suction] tubes. The laser probe can be inserted in a tiny [1 mm] incision in the eye. The laser energy vaporizes or ‘phacoblates’ the cataract and lens matter within a few minutes. The decomposed lens is extracted when liquid supplied by the irrigation line washes through and is sucked out through the aspiration tube, and a replacement lens is inserted.” Prior to her invention, cataract removal was performed manually with a mechanical grinding device and only limited to secondary cataract surgery. Dr. Bath’s probe is not only being used for primary or initial cataract surgery, but it increases the accuracy of the procedure as well as reducing the attendant discomfort.