Jeung H Kim

Jeung H Kim

Southern College of Optometry, USA

Title: Macular pigment and its potential role in ocular health


Jeung H Kim received her Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition from University of California at Berkeley, California in 2005. Then she received a Doctor of Optometry from University of California at Berkeley, California in 2010. She is currently working as a part time instructor and part time resident in Primary Care Optometry at Southern College of Optometry. She is interested in applying her nutritional background in optometric education. Currently, she is a member of the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Optometry, and the Ocular Nutrition Society.


The outer retina is more vulnerable to oxidative stress compared to other ocular structures due to high oxygen demand and direct exposure to light. The age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a leading cause of blindness, affecting more than 10 million people in the U.S. Its pathogenesis still needs to be elucidated further, but oxidative stress posed to the outer retina is one of possible etiologies of this multi-factorial disease. Some studies have shown that increased intake of antioxidant nutrients plays a protective role against ARMD progression. It is of great interest in recent years to study macular pigment due to its potential role as a modifiable risk factor for ARMD. Macular pigment is composed of three carotenoids: lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. The first two compounds can be obtained from dietary sources, while meso-zeaxanthin is synthesized in the central macula. The accumulation of three carotenoids at higher concentrations in the human retina than elsewhere in the body has been implicated in their functional role in minimizing light induced damage to the eye including development and/or progression of ARMD. Current knowledge on dietary sources, distribution, pharmacokinetics, and effects of dietary supplementation on ocular function will be discussed in this presentation. In addition, recent development of various methods to assess macular pigment level in vivo will be reviewed as well.