What is Lattice Degeneration?
Lattice degeneration is characterized by thinning of the peripheral retina. These thin areas are prone to tearing. Approximately 10% of Americans have some degree of lattice degeneration in one or both eyes. The typical patient with lattice degeneration is over 25 years of age and may be very nearsighted.
What are the Symptoms of Lattice Degeneration?
Lattice does not typically cause symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they include photopsia, or flashing lights in the patient’s peripheral vision. Lattice degeneration is a major risk factor for the development of a retinal tear or detachment. Retinal holes and tears can develop in these areas at any age, leading to retinal detachment without treatment.
Diagnosis of Lattice Degeneration
Lattice degeneration is diagnosed by conducting a dilated examination of the retina called indirect ophthalmoscopy. During ophthalmoscopy, Dr. Comaratta may use scleral depression — a technique that involves slight pressure placed on the eyelids — in order to get a better view of the peripheral retina.
Does Lattice Degeneration Require Laser Treatment?
Lattice degeneration without holes or tears can often be observed closely with regular eye exams to ensure there are no changes. Lattice degeneration with a tear always requires laser treatment. Sometimes when a tear or retinal detachment has occurred in one area of lattice, treatment of other areas of lattice degeneration with laser may be indicated because these lesions are at high risk of developing a new tear or detachment in the future.