Eye Anatomy

Macula of Retina

What is Macula?

Macula also known as macula lutea, is a yellow spot oval in shape in the middle of the retina. It is 5mm in diameter which has more than two layers of ganglion cells. The macula contains perifovea and parafovea.

Since the macula is yellow in color, it absorbs the excess ultraviolet and blue light that enters the eye. It protects the eye like a natural sunblock for this part of the retina. The lutein and zeaxanthin generate the yellow color known as yellow xanthophylls carotenoids. The lutein is spread on other places in the retina and zeaxanthin dominates the macula.

The macula is structured to provide specialized high acuity vision. The macula consists of foveola and fovea and these contain high density of cones.

Macula - Macula Degeneration

When the macula gets damaged it results in loss of central vision which can be noticed immediately. As the macula gets damaged further it results in a disease known as macular degeneration and may also lead to a macular hole. Trauma is usually not the actual cause of macular holes but in case if there’s a blow in the eye, the blood vessel leading to the macula can burst and destroy it.

The macula may also experience another problem known as macular sparing. In whatever the eye captures in the macula, it occupies a large portion of the space in the brain. Therefore, a person may experience visual field loss even with the macula.

Symptoms and Signs of Macula - Macular Degeneration

When a person starts aging, the cells in the retina lose their efficiency. This results in deposits known as drusen when start forming under the retina. These deposits can be seen during an eye examination. A small amount of drusen may not cause much vision problems but in case if too many start developing the vision certainly decreases.

A person may also experience vision problems if there are problems under the layer of the cells under the retina known as retinal pigment epithelium. Therefore, macular degeneration are of two types- “dry and “wet” macular degeneration. Dry is a very common form of this problem and there is no treatment for it.  

The above signs and symptoms are clear signs of macular degeneration and therefore in case a person experiences it should get a thorough checkup done. Consult an eye specialist or an eye expert and prevent it from getting worse.