Medical Definition of Macular (skin)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Macular (skin): Adjective referring to macules which are circumscribed changes in the color of skin that are neither raised (elevated) nor depressed. Macules are never large. They are little spots or blemishes in the skin. They are entirely flat and can only be appreciated by visual inspection; they cannot be seen from the side.

Dermatologists call small flat skin spots on the skin macules, as opposed to papules which are small solid bumps that rise up above the surrounding skin and vesicles which are small blisters that contain fluid (before they burst).

The word macular comes from the Latin macula meaning a small spot or blemish.

Note -- Macular vision refers to the macula lutea (yellow spot), or simply as the macula, a spot in the retina where vision is keenest. Macular degeneration pertains to the macula and involves partial or total loss of macular vision.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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