Gift of Sight: Local doctor offers to help Jamaican boy

By Tiffany Brown

Boca Raton News Staff Writer

On Monday, a 9-year-old boy's life will change, thanks to the generosity of a Delray Beach doctor and the kind heart of a Delray Beach resident.

KeratoconusDemar Brown of Jamaica will undergo a procedure at the Boca Raton Outpatient Surgical and Laser Center that will help restore vision in his left eye.

Demar suffers from Keratoconus, a genetic vision disorder that occurs when the cornea - the front part of the eye - becomes thin and cone-shaped. It causes an increased sensitivity to light, burning and vision distortion.

Demar's vision has gotten progressively worse in the last year. At this point, he is only able to see light and dark and movement. As a result of his condition, Brown had to drop out of school because he could no longer read the textbooks.

While on vacation in Jamaica, Lloyd Millanise of Delray Beach read a newspaper article in the Jamaican Star about the boy's condition. In the article, Browns mother, Judith English said,"It was last May that I found out about the eye. He stopped doing his school work, (he was) always squinting his eye, and (he) scratched (rubbed) the eye." Millanise was so disturbed by the story that when he returned to the U.S., he sought help from the doctor who had helped him with his own vision.

After hearing about the story from Millanise, Dr. Eric Rothchild of the Rothchild Eye Institute in Delray Beach offered his services to the boy free of charge.

"He's going to have a cornea transplant in his left eye, and we're going to monitor it. Then, after the left eye is healed, we will discuss taking care of his right eye," Rothchild said.

Rothchild hopes that after the procedure, which costs roughly $15,000, Brown will eventually recover most of vision and be able to return to school.

Brown's situation has inspired Rothchild to create a foundation to help children with eye diseases get the care they need. Donations can be made to the Rothchild Eye Foundation for Children by contacting Peggy Martin at the Rothchild Eye Institute, 381-2820.