August 16, 2011

Corneal Erosion: Genetic Condition or Side-Effect?

Victoria "styling" Bertrand's hair this morning.

This is just a quick update (read: vent) on what I've been up to regarding Bertrand. Since his keppra wean, he has been having the least number of seizures since ACTH! As a result, he is also more vocal and interactive. Unfortunately, the seizures that he IS having are sleep-related and disturbing to watch. More on that later.

All summer Bertrand's corneal erosion has not improved despite eye drops or ointment every 2 hours. In case you are wondering, that is $50 worth of eye goop every week. It is also a very upsetting process for Bertrand and time-consuming for us. And yet, I am plagued by the feeling that I am losing the battle to save his eyes. If he is this bad now, in the summer, with a humidifier in his room, how bad will it get in the dry Utah winters?!

I've been feeling defeated. It's not a feeling I am comfortable with, so I got to thinking...

It was not always this way. While Bertrand didn't cry tears (alacrima), he wasn't battling constant eye infections and corneal erosion. This all started back in January, before depakote, but a month AFTER ADDING LAMICTAL. A quick google search confirmed that dry eyes are a common enough side-effect of lamictal.

After leaving 2 messages with neurology and 2 emails to her, I finally heard back from Bertrand's neurologist last night. I feel like she blew me off. Bertrand's eyes and seizures could wait until she could see him at his September 20th appointment.


My baby boy has suffered long enough. Corneal erosion is extremely painful. As per my last discussion with his ophthalmologist, Bertrand is facing surgery to sew his eyes partially shut to reduce the amount of surface area and thereby the moisture he loses by them. As it is, his corneal scar is occluding his pupil and damaging his vision.

This is unacceptable.

Yes, seizures suck, but Bertrand needs to be seen as a whole. It is possible that depakote may be enough to control his seizures. Or maybe lamictal isn't to blame and he does need the surgery. Either way, we need to test and see because Bertrand deserves this chance.

I've spent the morning fighting for my boy, calling in the "big guns". Wish me luck.


This afternoon, I spoke with Bertrand's Pharmacist (the one who once opened the pharmacy on a Sunday just for us, after we forgot to pick up his medication). According to him, Lamictal can cause dry mouth and other ocular issues, but "dry eyes" as a symptom were not in his literature. He recommended some eye ointments/drops that were new to the market. He also recommended a prescription about which we should speak to Bertrand's ophthalmologist.

From my own research, I learned that Lamictal is a (modest) inhibitor of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, which completes the two-step activation of dietary folate into the bioactive form, tetrahydrofolate. A B-12 deficiency would increase the adverse effect potential of the Lamictal. Dry eyes can be a symptom of B-12 deficiency...

So, TONIGHT, Bertrand starts some new sublingual vitamin B supplementation (THANKS, AMY!) and new eye drops. ;) Bertrand will see his pediatrician about all of this on Thursday. His neurology appointment was moved up a little earlier to September 1st. Grr.


  1. many many hugs. kick some butt!

  2. Wow! I hope it helps. What b 12 supplements are you giving (dose)? I have to thank you too. I am completely dumb. When you emailed me I went to start giving Ava the b12 again to see if it worked any better and realized I somehow was giving her b6 the last couple times. I went back to b12 (maybe that's why it stopped working).

  3. Heart.ache. to light.heart. in one post. Praying for Bertrand. And you.


  4. Very information I like it so much.

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