Women Studies 320

Cultural Research Project

Cultural Research Project: Patricia Bath was born in 1942 in New York amidst a brutal and racist time for African Americans in our history. Despite cultural barriers, she accomplished many things even before she graduated high school. At the age of 16 she was already working in a cancer research center. She excelled in school and had a love for science (she even became the editor of the high school science paper). Among many other accomplishments, she came up with an equation to mathematically predict cancer growth. After college Bath became a doctor and was the first black resident in Ophthalmology. After her residency she began to work at the University of California as an assistant professor of surgery and ophthalmology. After discovering an alarming rate of blindness in African Americans, she founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness (AIPB). Then, in 1981 she invented a surgical device that would change the lives of many, the Laserphaco Probe. The Laserphaco Probe was able to remove cataracts from patients’ eyes by using a 1 mm probe to enter one’s eye and use laser to break up the cataract. It had a secondary tube that was used as suction to actually remove the cataract. Her invention revolutionized the way these surgeries were performed and changed many lives. She continues to fight blindness and reports that “The ability to restore sight is the ultimate reward”. __________________________________________________________________________________________________

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