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Eye Doctor Dispenses Rx Through Fiction

A new way of helping patients

By Jasmine Pitts |

What is an eye doctor doing writing mystery stories and children’s books?

One might think an eye doctor would be too busy with patients, lectures, and medical writing to take the time for other pursuits. Dr. Robert Abel Jr., M.D., finds that prevention is one of the most important messages a physician can share with a patient. The patient gets the message and enjoys the book without being in a doctor’s office.

Dr. Robert Abel Jr.

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Recalling his first book, Eyes of Revolution, Dr. Abel said, “Why not write about ways to avoid eye problems?” Readers learn how to save their eyes and receive preventive information for a small fee. While his books are fun and suspenseful, they overflow with important information. For example, Lumi’s Book of Eyes helps children identify the locations of different types of eyes on animals. Dr. Abel created Lumi, a character whose name derives from luminescent and the love of good health expressed by 13th-century poet Rumi, as a friendly, universal character young readers to whom young readers can relate. Lumi can be found on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lumi/124839767548655.

The mystery series or “whodunit” genre easily relates to older audiences. Dr. Abel weaves medical information into the murder mysteries, presenting facts that a person may not have been aware of in a creative way. Other elements that can be found within Lethal Hindsight include: good vs. evil, child vs. parent, a possible shift of power in Europe, and morality vs. magicians.

Dr. Abel finished Lethal Hindsight within three years. When asked how he managed to find the time, Dr. Abel replied, “I woke up at 4:30 every morning. Around that time nothing is happening. There are no calls and my wife is still asleep. Thoughts came to me at that time.” In between patient visits, Dr. Abel wrote down ideas that popped into his head during the day.

When asked how readers responded to his books, he said, “Readers were kind and generous about the concept of Lethal Hindsight and Lumi’s Book of Eyes.”  Both Lumi’s Book of Eyes and Lethal Hindsight spark readers” imaginations, allowing them to explore a world that is both similar and different to theirs. Dr. Abel is satisfied with the success of both books but believes the Lumi series will continually appeal to curious children.

“If I can help children gain confidence and have fun with learning, I feel that I am making a change. It is a good feeling,” said Dr. Abel.

Dr. Abel practices in the Brandywine Valley area and founded the Medical Eye Bank of Delaware in 1981. He received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1969, completed his ophthalmology residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital and was a Cornea Fellow at the University of Florida.

So where is Dr. Abel now? Aside from being a doctor, he is hard at work on two novels and several Lumi books, including Lumi’s Book of Teeth, due for release soon. Future plans for Lumi include tackling the digestive system and dyslexia, a learning disability that particularly resonates with Dr. Abel, who struggled with it as a child.