ZocdocAnswersWhat is lattice degeneration?

Question

What is lattice degeneration?

I am not in touch with my sister, but I know through our family that she has ""lattice degeneration."" Can you explain what this is and if it will probably affewect me, too? I'm female, age 48, and she's three years younger than me.

Answer

Lattice degeneration is a common condition that affects the retina of the eye, which is the light-sensing layer at the back of the eye. In this condition, peripheral portions of the retina become progressively atrophic, or thinned out; to the eye doctor looking into the back of the eye, this often has a cross-hatched appearance, hence the description 'lattice'. Lattice degeneration affects up to 10% of the general population, and there is an inherited component at least in some families. Furthermore, it is more common in people who develop nearsightedness early in life. The exact cause is unknown. Fortunately, lattice degeneration is generally asymptomatic. There is, however, a small risk of retinal detachment, probably in less than 1% of cases. In the absence of retinal detachment, there is no need for medical treatment of the problem, other than the usual regular eye examinations by your eye doctor. In people who do develop retinal detachment as a result of having lattice degeneration, their eye doctor may sometimes advice a procedure to 'tack down' the retina in the other eye to prevent a detachment there. The most common way to do this is using a strong laser beam, called laser photocoagulation.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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