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Lattice Degeneration

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A brief guide to lattice degeneration

Lattice degeneration is a relatively common condition affecting about 10% of the Canadian population. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it. There are no distinct symptoms associated with lattice degeneration—only if complications arise. A yearly eye exam by one of our optometrists at our three Calgary eye clinics is about the only way to know if you have the condition. 

What is lattice degeneration?

Lattice degeneration is a type of deterioration of the periphery of the retina that can lead to the development of retinal holes and a thinning and weakening of the retina. It most commonly affects people who are near-sighted, it tends to run in families and it usually affects both eyes simultaneously. Its cause is unknown.

Should you be concerned if you have it?

In the vast number of cases, lattice degeneration is a relatively benign condition. It becomes a concern if it leads to a retinal tear or detachment. These are very serious conditions that can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. Fortunately, lattice degeneration only leads to a retinal tear or detachment about one percent of the time. If you experience flashing lights, floaters or a loss of peripheral vision, book your eye exam with our optometrists at our three Calgary eye clinics to see if it’s the result of lattice degeneration or something more serious.


There are laser treatments to control lattice degeneration and concomitant retinal holes, but in most cases treatment is unnecessary. Laser treatment may be called for if there is a retinal tear, if the other eye has already had a detached retina, or if there is a family history of retinal detachment. Consult a vision and eye care specialist at one of our three Calgary eye clinic for a proper diagnosis.

How does lattice degeneration compare with retinal atrophy?

Retinal atrophy is a hereditary disease. It affects far fewer people than lattice degeneration, but it’s far more serious. It results in the death of rods and cones in the retina and usually occurs in teenagers. The first symptom is usually loss of night vision, followed by tunnel vision and central vision loss, and often culminating in total blindness by 40.

If you or someone in your family experiences any of these symptoms book an eye exam with one of our optometrists at our three Calgary eye clinics immediately.

Have questions regarding lattice degeneration?

Contact us at Dr. Bishop & Associates. At Dr. Bishop & Associates, we’re happy to answer all your questions about eye health. Book an appointment today or walk in.

Written by Donald Bishop

In addition to his Doctor of Optometry from the University of Waterloo, Dr. Bishop also earned his pharmacological therapeutics certification from Northeastern State University of Oklahoma. He graduated in 1983 and has been practising optometry in Alberta ever since.

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