Lattice degeneration is a thinning of your peripheral retina over time. Its exact cause is unknown. Lattice degeneration can cause retinal detachment in some people, which can lead to blindness.

The retina is a layer of specialized cells in the back of your eye. These cells capture light and transmit electrical impulses to your brain so that you can see.

There are many conditions that can affect the retina. One of these is lattice degeneration, a gradual thinning of the retina.

Below, we’ll cover more about lattice degeneration, including its symptoms, what causes it, and how it’s treated. Keep reading to learn more.

Lattice degeneration is a thinning of the retina that happens over time. It’s estimated to impact about 10% of people. About one-third to one-half of people with lattice degeneration have it in both eyes.

Lattice degeneration happens in your peripheral retina, which is the retinal tissue located outside of your macula. Your peripheral retina is responsible for your side vision as well as your night vision.

The macula is a small but very important area of the retina. It’s involved in our vision clarity, called acuity, as well as our color vision.

Lattice degeneration lesions may look like an oval or straight patch of retinal tissue that has thinned. Pigment clusters or a cross-hatching pattern caused by whitened blood vessels may also be seen. One or several lesions may be present.

Lattice degeneration has no symptoms. Due to this, many people with lattice degeneration don’t know that they have it. In many cases, lattice degeneration is detected during a routine dilated eye exam.

Because lattice degeneration causes your peripheral retina to thin out, it’s more prone to developing tears or holes. This can eventually lead to retinal detachment, where your retina is pulled away from its typical positioning.

The symptoms of retinal detachment include:

Retinal detachment is an emergency. If you have any of the symptoms above, especially if they’ve come on suddenly, seek immediate treatment from your eye doctor or at the emergency room.

You can develop lattice degeneration at any age. However, most people get it while they’re in their 20’s.

It’s not clear what exactly causes lattice degeneration. However, some people are at a higher risk of developing it, including:

It’s important to know that having risk factors for lattice degeneration doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely develop it. It simply means that you’re at a higher risk for lattice degeneration compared to people without risk factors.

Lattice degeneration can lead to blindness. This is because people who have lattice degeneration are at a higher risk of retinal detachment, which can cause permanent vision loss.

Up to 30% of retinal detachments are associated with lattice degeneration. However, most people with lattice degeneration won’t experience retinal detachment, as it’s estimated to occur in 0.7% of eyes with the condition.

Generally speaking, most people with lattice degeneration don’t need to be treated. Your eye doctor will monitor your condition regularly with yearly dilated eye exams.

In some situations, your eye doctor may use laser therapy or cryotherapy to treat your lattice degeneration. The goal is to strengthen the area of the peripheral retina that’s the thinnest, helping to prevent retinal tears or detachment.

However, it’s unclear if these treatments are effective at preventing retinal detachment. A 2014 review couldn’t draw conclusions on whether preventive treatments could reduce the risk of retinal detachment in people with lattice degeneration.

If you have lattice degeneration and experience a retinal detachment, there are several ways that your eye doctor can treat it. These include laser therapy, cryotherapy, or surgery.

There’s no surefire way to prevent lattice degeneration. Lattice degeneration is often diagnosed during routine eye checkups.

Seeing your eye doctor regularly is important to prevent complications from lattice degeneration. If you’ve been diagnosed with lattice degeneration, regular follow-ups can help prevent complications like retinal tears or detachment.

Lattice degeneration is a condition where your peripheral retina thins over time. Its exact cause is unknown, although it’s more common in people who are nearsighted and in those with certain rare genetic diseases.

People with lattice degeneration are at a higher risk of retinal detachment. While most people with lattice degeneration only need to be monitored, in some situations, a doctor may recommend treatment to strengthen the thinned retina.

Retinal detachment is an emergency that can lead to permanent vision loss. If you have lattice degeneration and experience symptoms of retinal detachment, seek immediate care.