Lattice Degeneration – What is it?

What is lattice degeneration?

Lattice Degeneration
Lattice degeneration is often characterized by thin patches on the outer regions of the retina (back wall of the eye). Within this area, there may be small holes or hardened blood vessels.

Lattice degeneration occurs when the outer portions of the retina become thin. This can make the retina more vulnerable to developing tears, holes, or breaks. This could eventually progress to a visually impairing condition called retinal detachment. Because of this, lattice degeneration should be closely monitored once it is diagnosed.

Who can develop lattice degeneration?

Lattice degeneration occurs in 5% to 10% of the general population. Its exact cause is not yet completely understood. However, the disease turns up more frequently in members of the same family, and it is most commonly found in nearsighted patients. Currently, there is no cure for lattice degeneration.

What are the symptoms?

Lattice degeneration itself does not usually cause symptoms. If you begin to experience abnormal vision such as blurred vision, flashes, or floaters, it may be a sign that your condition may be progressing to a retinal tear or detachment.

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What are the treatment options?

Fortunately, the vast majority of patients with lattice degeneration never develop a retinal tear or detachment. The condition is thought to be minimally progressive. In general, no treatment is required aside from regular monitoring with dilated eye exams.

In rare cases, a vitrectomy may be required fix a retinal tear or detachment. In this surgical procedure, a physician makes three tiny incisions to remove the jelly from the inside of the eye. After this, the fluid from under the retina is also drained and the holes in the back of the eye are closed shut. The eye is then filled with a gas bubble to hold it in place during healing. Check out this video of a vitrectomy in a patient with lattice degeneration!