Lattice degeneration is a process which affects the peripheral retina of the eye, causing that part of the retina to atrophy and become thinner. Although this is not usually a progressive disease, in some cases, the degeneration may lead to retinal detachment, holes, and/or tear and temporary or permanent loss of vision. This eye disease is often associated with myopia, and the two conditions can appear together.
Although multiple theories have been suggested about the cause of this disease, the factors which lead to lattice eye degeneration remain unknown. Diseased eyes may have peripheral vascular deficiencies, meaning the network of vessels which supplies blood to the peripheral retina is underdeveloped. It is not known whether this vascular deficiency is a cause or a symptom of lattice eye degeneration.
Lattice degeneration does not generally present any easily recognizable symptoms. A person with this condition may have blurred distance vision; however this is most often caused by myopia. Often, when symptoms are noticed they are symptoms of a complication rather than of the disease itself.
The most common complication of lattice degeneration is retinal detachment or retinal tear. When retinal detachment occurs, the patient is likely to experience floaters (tiny black or gray spots) and white flashes in their field of vision. If these symptoms suddenly appear with no warning, they may indicate retinal detachment, and treatment from a retina specialist will be needed.