Retinal Lattice Degeneration is a condition that happens because of the thinning of the retina in the peripheral retina. It gets its name from the white appearance of retinal vessels intersecting the lesions that appears like a lattice.
It can cause the retina to degenerate; the retina is one of the important parts of the eyes that capture the light and provides messages to the brain. It occurs in 6–8% of the general population. People with myopia (nearsightedness) are most vulnerable to this disease. About 50% of the patients with lattice degeneration have lattice degeneration in both eyes. It can lead to retinal tears, retinal holes and retinal detachment also. Lattice Degeneration can increase the risk of getting Retinal Detachment as 30% of Retinal Detachment cases are associated with Lattice Degeneration. Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina is pulled out of the position, it can also lead to permanent vision loss.
There are mainly three reasons for the association of lattice degeneration with retinal detachment.
Firstly, the thinning of the retina within the areas of lattice degeneration. Secondly because of the firm attachment of vitreous with the edge of the lattice degeneration lesions. Some patients can develop retinal tears at the edge of their lattice degeneration because of contraction or shifting of vitreous in the eyes. Lastly the atrophic hole often developed with lattice degeneration, sometimes allow fluid to pass from the inside of the eye to the subretinal space which can cause retinal detachment.
Lattice Degeneration is associated with these conditions -
- Myopia — Myopic eyes are at more risk of developing Lattice Degeneration, more than 30%.
- Retinal Detachment — Retinal Detachment also increase the risk of developing Lattice Degeneration.
Symptoms of Lattice Degeneration -
There are no symptoms associated with Lattice Degeneration and most people with this condition never experience any symptoms. However, the retina gets thinner with lattice degeneration, it can lead to retinal tears and retinal detachment. These conditions may develop symptoms such as -
- Light flashes
- Blurry vision
- Vision blocked by a grey curtain
How lattice degeneration can be diagnosed -
In the situation you have experienced the above symptoms, you should seek immediate care from the eye doctor and have an eye examination. Lattice Degeneration is generally diagnosed during the regular eye examination. The doctor puts the drops to dilate means widens the eye to see into the eyes more easily. A dilated eye exam is performed with the help of sclera indentation for properly examining the edge of the retina. Scleral Depression is a technique which involves putting a slight pressure on the outside of the eye for having a better view of the peripheral retina. Lattice degeneration can also be diagnosed by indirect Ophthalmoscopy after dilating the eyes with eye drops. The lesions that are found on the outer edge of the retina are then treated.
Does Lattice Degeneration require treatment?
Generally, laser surgery for retinal lattice degeneration without symptoms is rarely done. In a condition when the retinal tears that are associated with lattice degeneration are horseshoe-shaped, they need to be thermally treated with laser therapy or cryotherapy. Lattice Degeneration without atrophic holes often doesn’t requires treatment. Patients who have previously developed retinal detachment require treatment for lattice degeneration.
How Lattice Degeneration can be treated?
Most people with lattice degeneration and symptoms don’t require any treatment, it only needed monitoring. Patients with Lattice Degeneration have a 1–2% chance of developing Retinal Detachment in their lifetime. Retinal tears should be discovered and treated early as they can lead to retinal detachment. Treatments like laser therapy and cryotherapy should be implemented in case the lattice appears more dangerous, or the other eye of the patient has had retinal detachment in the past. Nearsightedness or a family history of retinal tears or retinal detachment are also some factors that urge you to get treatment for Lattice Degeneration. Laser therapy in treating lattice degeneration helps strengthen the weak areas of the retina.
Risk of treatment-
Generally, there are no complications in the treatment; however, some people experience an increase in pupil size and difficulty in focusing. These symptoms usually take 1–2 weeks to resolve. It is advised to take continuous retinal checkups for decreasing any risk of retinal detachment and developing new lesions.
Conclusion — Retinal degeneration is a retinal condition which affects the retinal tissues abnormally. These abnormally thin patches are developed on the edge of the retina. Generally, it doesn’t need any treatment if there are no symptoms. However, if there are symptoms you should seek proper medical care and treatment.