Macula Lutea

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

The macula lutea is a small depression forming a shallow pit in the retina at the back of each eye in the human body. It is slightly yellow in apperance and so was first called the 'yellow spot' or 'macula lutea' of Sömmerring, who was the scientist who first discovered and documented it.

As is true of many terms in anatomy, the word macula lutea has many synonyms, in this case yellow spot and fovea. Different words are used in different textbooks but the meaning is the same.

Due to the large number of the light-sensitive photo-detector cells called cones located in the region of the macula lutea, this is the area of greatest acuity of vision. Hence when an eye is looking at an object, the part of the image of that object formed on the retina of that eye that is located on the fovea is the part of the image that will be perceived in the greatest detail.

The existance of such an area is only known to occur in humans, the quadrumana (a group of primates comprising apes and monkeys), and some saurian reptiles.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions and descriptions of the parts of the eye.
For other descriptions in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete / exhaustive list).

Other related sections include:

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

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