The fovea is a small depression forming
a shallow pit in the retina
at the back of each eye in the human body.
Because it contains a large number of the light-sensitive photo-detector
cells called cones,
the fovea is the area of greatest acuity of vision.
This means that when an eye is directed at an object, the part of the
image of that object formed on the retina that falls onto the fovea is
the part of the image that will be perceived in the greatest detail.
The fovea is slightly yellow in apperance and so was first called the
"Yellow Spot" or "Macula Lutea"
of Sömmerring (the scientist who first discovered and documented
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.
The subject of visual (also known as "physiological") optics
is a key component of many courses within the fields of both biology and
physics. It is also an essential consideration in the design of displays
and control units used in many applications from televisions and mobile
telephones to advanced aircraft. In the context of engineering "visual
optics" is one of several medical and psychological topics in the
important area of "Human Factors".