Lattice degeneration is common in the population and represents ares of thinning of the peripheral retina. The peripheral retina is the area of the retina where the eye can develop retinal tears, which can then lead to retinal detachment. These areas of thinning may take on a pigmented appearance that looks like the lattice pattern of a wicker basket, hence the name “lattice degeneration.”
Ten percent of the population has some lattice degeneration. The lattice degeneration in and of itself does not affect vision and has no symptoms.
Eyes with lattice degeneration are more prone to retinal tears and retinal holes. Thus eyes with lattice degeneration have an increased lifetime risk of retinal detachment compared to eyes without lattice degeneration (although keep in mind that the majority of eyes with lattice will never develop a retinal detachment).
In general, if you develop flashes, floaters, or shadows in your vision, you should call your eye doctor, as these symptoms may be signs of a retinal detachment.
In most cases of lattice degeneration, no prophylactic therapy is performed. Eyes with lattice degeneration should simply be checked at least once a year with dilation and special examination of the peripheral retina. If an eye with lattice degeneration develops a retinal tear or a retinal hole with a certain configuration, “tack down laser” may be performed to reduce the risk of subsequent retinal detachment.
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