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Black History Month


African American optometrists have made significant contributions to the field of eye care. For example, Dr. Robert S. Root-Bernstein was the first African American optometrist in the United States, graduating from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1949. In addition, Dr. William Valentine was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in optometry and the first African A


merican to be elected president of the American Academy of Optometry. African American optometrists have also been instrumental in advancing the field of vision care through research an


d advocacy. For instance, Dr. Carolyn Crump was one of the first African American optometrists to receive a research grant from the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Ronald S. Brown was a leader in establishing the National Optometric Association, an organization dedicated to promoting the profession of optometry.



There are many amazing optometrist inventions that have come from the black community. One of the most notable inventions is the therapeutic contact lens, invented by Dr. Patricia Bath in 1986. This invention helped to revolutionize the field of ophthalmology and allowed people with vision problems to receive better care. Another invention is the EyeDial, a device that helps optometrists measure the eyes’ sensitivity to light. This device was invented by Dr. Ronald L. Rivers in the late 1990s and has since been used by optometrists to diagnose and treat vision problems. Lastly, the EyeTrack, a device that aids optometrists in diagnosing and treating vision problems, was invented by Dr. Robert E. Jackson in the early 2000s. This device has helped optometrists to better understand how the eyes react to light. All of these inventions have been invaluable to the advancement of optometry, and have been made possible by black inventors.


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