Kwanzaa, LASIK, and Dr. Bath

Posted By on Dec 19, 2018 in LASIK Surgery | 0 comments

In recent years our holiday season has become enriched by African Americans reviving some traditions of their ancestors. The holiday from December 26th to January 1st has been designated as Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa honors African ancestors who had agricultural first fruit celebrations. The holiday commemorates the past but also celebrates the collective values of African American culture today. Formed to be a cultural holiday it recognizes achievements of African Americans. In laser eye surgery in the 1980s, an African American ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Era Bath received patents that helped lay the groundwork for the LASIK eye surgery found today. The lady became the first African American to obtain a patent for a medical invention of the laserphaco.

Mother of Invention Literally

Experimenting in the early days of laser technology, Dr. Bath agreed that the argon fluoride excimer system proved to be optimal in eye surgery. She did experiments with photoablation to improve the techniques before its widespread use on humans. Wading through the data and variety of techniques being explored she concluded that the precision of the photoablation surgical techniques coupled with certain types of lasers would result in significant advances in ophthalmology.  The field at that time became called photoablative cataract surgery which she called laserphaco. She predicted that further refinement of the techniques would permit implantation of injectable intraocular lens materials. Dr. Bath was not wrong the path of Opthalmology went that direction. Overall she received 5 USA patents and patents in Japan, Europe, and Canada.

Guiding the Next Generation

Dr. Bath did many firsts in her long career. She obtained the honor of being the first African American to complete the residency in ophthalmology. At the Jules Stein Eye Institute, she became the first female faculty member in the Ophthalmology Department of UCLA. Later she co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. After retiring from UCLA in 1993, she moved to an honorary staff member the first woman. Her insights continued with being a co-founder of King-Drew Medical Center ophthalmology training programs. With 100 papers to her name pieces of her work float throughout ophthalmology even today. In 2001 Ms. Bath became inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame. If anyone can be called a first fruit, it would be Ms. Bath. Her work displays the cultural values of Kwanzaa in a medical field that has done much good. With that foundation, it became no surprise that former First Lady Michelle Obama had the LASIK procedure done on her eyes.  Today Ms. Bath has become an advocate for telemedicine.

Houston LASIK

One visit with the staff at Houston LASIK and a person can feel the level of integrity and accomplishment that Dr. Bath displayed. Its personalized and customizable service takes the time to assess the needs and makes a precise diagnosis. Its counseling and consultation make a patient well informed. The good doctors and staff keep up with the latest techniques. They continue the good work Dr. Bath started.


Houston Lasik leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston Lasik, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478.