Eye surgery of the time and the Laserphaco Probe

Between 1985 and 1986, Dr. Bath finished developing an invention that sealed her place in history – the Laserphaco Probe. Because her idea was more advanced than the technology available at the time, the device took nearly five years of research, trials, and development. The probe improved on the surgery that was used to remove cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy blemishes that form in the lens of a person’s eye, and they are most commonly seen in people over the age of sixty. The probe “consists of an optical laser fiber surrounded by irrigation and aspiration (suction) tubes. The laser probe can be inserted in a tiny (1 mm) incision in the eye. The laser energy vaporizers or ‘phacoblates’ the cataract and lens matter within a few minutes. The decomposed lens is extracted when liquid supplied by the irrigation line washes through and is sucked out through the aspiration tube, and a replacement lens is inserted.” (Black History Pages)

Before this technological advance, cataract removal involved the manual grinding of the cataract. Dr. Bath’s device improves the accuracy of the operation and reduces the pain the patient feels. The probe also performs keratoprosthesis, and gives sight to those who have been blind for years. The Laserphaco Probe has five U.S. patents, as well as patents in Japan, Canada, and many European countries.

Eye with a cataract
© The Eyes Have It

Laserphaco Probe Incision
© Laserphaco

Dr. Bath uses the Laserphaco Probe on a cow’s eye
Image found at Innovative Lives

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