8. Patricia BathPatricia Bath was a pioneer in the treatment and prevention of blindness. She invented a device called the Laserphaco Probe that could refine laser cataract surgery, according to a Wikipedia article about Bath. She is also the first black woman to hold a patent for a medical purpose.
Bath is credited with co-founding the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in 1978. She served as the institute’s president.
She received her bachelor degree in chemistry from Hunter College in 1964 and went on to attend the Howard College of Medicine, where she received her doctorate in 1968. While at Howard, Bath received fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health. She received her residency in ophthalmology at New York University from 1970 to 1973.
Bath went to Yugoslavia in 1967 to study children’s health. She realized how much eye care was uneven among minorities and poor populations, which resulted in more blind people. Upon return to the U.S., Bath convinced her professors at Columbia University to perform operations on blind patients for free at Harlem Hospital Center where she was an intern. She became a pioneer of community ophthalmology, a volunteer-based outreach that brings eye care to underserved populations.