Ground breaking African American female doctor says she had to 'shake off haters' on her way to success

Dr. Bath was appointed for her advocacy for the blind by former President Obama.

"I knew that that was a groundbreaking discovery. So I immediately did file a patent for this new technology in 1986," Bath said.

She credits all her success to her years of hard work.

After earning her medical degree from Howard University, Bath rose in her chosen specialty of ophthalmology, a field in which African-American women were rare.

"I did not allow that to phase my vision," Bath said. "If anything, it challenged and inspired me not to be equal but to be better and the best."

Bath became the first female ophthalmologist at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute in 1974 and Time calls her one of the "women who changed the world."

In 2009 her advocacy for the blind was recognized by President Barack Obama, who appointed her to his commission for digital accessibility for the blind.

"It was exciting to become an incidental role model simply by striving for excellence, working hard and, giving back to the community," Bath said.

She added that optimism and paving a path for future generations helped her overcome other hurdles in her career.

"I want to pass the torch to young girls and have them do S.T.E.M. [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and have them do ophthalmology," she said.