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Macula lutea

When an eye is looking directly at an object, light rays from that object are focused on the macula lutea, a yellow oval spot at the center of the retina (back of the eye). It is the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp, detailed central vision (also called visual acuity). The macula lutea, also called fovea, contains a very high concentration of cones, the light-sensitive cells in the retina that give detailed central vision.

Alternative Names

Macula, fovea, (macula lutea is Latin for “yellow spot”)

References

Chin EK, Pilli S, Nguyen DH, Park SS. The anatomy and cell biology of the retina. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:chap 19.

Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.

Updated: 11/12/2013

Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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