Published on August 1st, 2012 | by Mark Erickson
Lattice degeneration is a peripheral retina condition in which the retinal tissue is thinned, atrophied and the blood vessels are fibrosed in a “lattice-like” appearance.
Lattice degeneration lesions, usually localized, appear as round/oval or linear patches in the far peripheral retina.
The typical lattice degeneration patient is over 25 years of age and may be myopic (nearsighted). It is typically found in both eyes. It is estimated that 8 to 11 percent of the population has peripheral retinal changes that are categorized as lattice degeneration.
Lattice does not typically cause symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they include photopsia, or flashing lights in the patient’s peripheral (side) vision.
It is believed that lattice has been associated with higher risk of retinal detachment. Retinal holes can occur in the lesions and tractional retinal tears can develop in rare cases.
Diagnosis of lattice degeneration is done by a well-dilated, peripheral retina examination called ophthalmoscopy. During ophthalmoscopy, the doctor may use scleral depression – a technique that involves slight pressure placed on the outside of the eye in order to give the doctor a better view of the peripheral retina.
Treatment of lattice is typically prophylactic. In rare cases, a “barrier” laser is applied to “tack down” the retina surrounding these lesions to avoid the possibility of retinal detachment. If a retinal tear is noted near the lesion, preventative laser is commonly done to avoid detachment complications.
Lattice degeneration is sometimes misdiagnosed. If there are any suspicions of possible lattice, a dilated peripheral retinal exam should be performed by a vitreo-retinal specialist and the symptomatic patient should be followed regularly.