Lattice Degeneration

What is lattice degeneration?

Lattice degeneration is diagnosed when patches of thinning are found in the outer areas of the retina. The retina is a layer of nerve tissue in the back of the eye that acts like the “film” of the eye. It captures light and sends the images to the brain. The thinning of the retina caused by lattice degeneration does not affect central vision. Therefore, most people with this condition do not have any symptoms. The name comes from the crisscross, or “lattice,” pattern that is seen on the retina as it thins.

The cause is unknown but it is more common in people who are near-sighted (myopic) and tends to run in families.

Usually there are no symptoms associated with Lattice Degeneration. Symptoms typically only occur when a complication from the lattice degeneration occurs, such as a tear or detachment of the retina. If you ever have the onset of flashing lights, new floaters or a loss of the side vision you need a prompt examination to rule out any serious problems with the retina.

In some cases laser treatment is used to seal the lattice degeneration and associated retinal holes. Laser treatment is a simple procedure that can be completed in the office. Laser is not effective in preventing retinal detachment in patients who have no symptoms. Therefore prophylactic treatment for all lattice degeneration is not useful.