Her Work Helped Fight Blindness In The Black Community

pair of eyelgasses
Akilah Wise
April 28, 2023

Born in Harlem, Dr. Patricia Bath was in medical school when she saw how bad our communities were hit with blindness. She was the catalyst behind Harlem Hospital’s first major eye operation in 1970, when she fought to bring ophthalmic surgical services to Harlem Hospital's Eye Clinic.

Later, Dr. Bath moved to California to become the first Black surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, the first woman ophthalmologist on the faculty of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and Chair of the King-Drew-UCLA Ophthalmology Residency Program.

But, glass ceilings at both institutions forced Bath to make a life-changing decision.

She took her talents to Europe, where her research flourished. The result was several patents, including the device and technique for laser eye surgery today.

Bath’s pioneering spirit of breaking through racist and sexist barriers live on as inspiration for us in our life’s work.

Bath dedicated her life to ensuring our communities had the right to see and access to eye care, even when she didn’t have a space to innovate. She reminds us more than ever that we need our own spaces to thrive. Now it’s time to work together to create spaces that fit our vision for Black liberation. How would such a space look in your community?

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