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Lattice Degeneration

Lattice Degeneration is not so uncommon these days. This condition has potentially blinding results if not treated. Prevention is better than cure. The common causes are lattice degeneration which can be detected by proper screening of retina and timely treatment by laser photocoagulation. Lattice degeneration is a term given to weak parts in the retina. Lattice degenerations are oval cigar shaped lesions with lattice texture, some of them could also have holes inside them.

A patient could have lattice degeneration in both the eyes and they could vary from 1 or 2 to multiple in each eye, sometimes they could also develop pigmentation. Lattice degeneration is usually in the periphery and more common in myopic (minus number). Generally higher the minus number more chances of getting lattice degeneration. A patient who does not have a spectacle may also have these degenerations, but they are less likely.

What is the significance of these?

Lattice degeneration is one of the significant precursor or predisposing factor for retinal hole formation that could lead to a condition called as retinal detachment in which the retina separates from its outer or underlying layers.

The patients who have lattice degeneration generally have no symptoms: They are usually found on examination by a retinal surgeon using a special instrument called indirect ophthalmoscope with indentation which is used to see the periphery of the retina.

Fundus photograph
Lattice Degeneration With Retinal Tear

What should we do for them?

Usually they require no treatment; they just have to be observed. Patients who have high risk of retinal detachment like patients who have had detachment in the other eye or have a family history should be treated, also those patient who have developed retinal hole or developed a small sub-clinical retinal detachment need to be treated. Patients with flashes of light and lattice degeneration are treated.

lattice degeneration pre laser lattice degeneration post laser

What is the treatment?

The treatment is generally very simple and is done in OPD, which consists of lasers that could be in the form of Argon or Diode laser around the lattice degeneration to seal it off. In some cases, Cryo application or Cold application in the operation theatre can be applied to seal it and generally the patients do very well. The patients will have to come occasionally for follow-up as they may develop new lattice degenerations in other areas in the future. The treatment reduces the risk of retinal detachment.