The macula is part of the retina, which is at the back of the eye. The macula is located in the center of the retina and is responsible for your central vision, most of your color vision, and the fine detail you see. It has a very high concentration of photoreceptor cells – known as rods and cones, they’re the cells that detect light – which send signals to the brain, which interprets them as images.
The macula is oval-shaped and has a diameter of about 5.5 mm. It has six clear sections: the umbo, foveola, fovea, foveal avascular zone, parafovea, and perifovea.
In the center of the macula is the fovea, which is the area of best visual acuity.
In the center of the fovea is the foveola, which contains only cone cells – photoreceptors with high acuity.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
The macula is yellow in color, which is derived from lutein and zeaxanthin in your diet (these can be found in dark leafy greens, peas, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, and pistachios). Because of the yellow color, the macula absorbs excess blue and ultraviolet light that enter the eye.
Diseases of the Macula
Age-Related Macular Degeneration – destroys sharp, central vision
Macula Edema – swelling of the macula caused by fluid leaking from retinal blood vessels
Macular Pucker – scar tissue on the macula caused by certain eye conditions
Macular Hole – a small break in the macula that can occur as a result of natural aging