Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is a pigmented lattice?"
My mom is elderly (79), and her doctor just advised that she has a pigmented lattice. For starters, what does this mean? If her eyes have always been like this, why do we need to do anything to try to 'fix' it?
Pigmented lattice is a term sometimes used by ophthalmologists (eye doctors). It is similar to the term lattice degeneration. I would discuss this further with an ophthalmologist to better understand your mother's specific condition. Lattice degeneration refers to a disorder of the eye. The eye has many parts--but a central figure is the retina--which is the light sensing part of the eye. The peripheral part of the retina can degenerate in some people and therefore give an appearance of a lattice (a meshwork pattern). This pattern can have different colors and therefore sometimes known as pigmented. The pigment or color comes from the way the blood vessels integrate into the lattice. Whether or not there is pigment is probably less important then the fact that there is the lattice degeneration. This process is caused by thinning of the peripheral (outside) part of the retina. This probably occurs because of scar formation. It can occur in old or young--and is fairly common--maybe 8-10% of the population. The clinically important point is that this can predispose to retinal detachment by forming of holes around the retina. Ophthalmologist can possibly heal these with laser treatments--but is not clear if these all need to be treated. As an aside--floaters in your vision, blurry vision or sudden visual loss are signs of retinal detachment that require immediate medical attention. Talk to your ophthalmologist. This likely does not require "fixing" but your options should be discussed as there is an increased risk for retinal problems.