Cataract treatment inventor Dr. Patricia Smith dies at 76

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Dr. Patricia Bath, a pioneering ophthalmologist who became the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent after she invented a more precise treatment of cataracts, has died. She was 76.

Her daughter says Bath died from complications of cancer on May 30 at a hospital in San Francisco.

After graduating medical school at Howard University, Bath moved to California where in 1976 she co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which established that “eyesight is a basic human right.”

She was in the ophthalmology department at the University of California, Los Angeles in the early 1980s when she invented the Laserphaco Probe. The device offered less painful cataract treatment and restored the sight of patients who had been blind for decades.

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