Return to "Quackery"
"Look into my eyes my dear " is a popular and seductive quote based on the romantic notion that the "eyes are the window to the soul". It is well known that certain emotional states such as stress, sexual stimulation, and intoxication with certain substances can cause characteristic changes in pupil size.
Iridology is an entirely different concept that claims actual disease, both physical and emotional, can be diagnosed by visible changes in the pattern of the Iris.
Parts of the eye visible without special equipment include:
The iris contracts or relaxes, thus changing pupil change size, depending on the amount of light present. Under conditions of bright light contraction of ciliary muscles attached to the Iris causes constriction of the pupil, thus filtering out excessive light ( Iris is more noticeable). In darkness the pupil dilates (widens) to allow as much available light as possible to reach the retina- less of the Iris is visible.
The Iris of each person is fixed in that its' markings do not change. A persons Iris may appear different based on amount of pupil dilation or constriction at a given time. An analogy is that although a person's palm or finger prints always contain the same markings (do not change), they will appear different when the palm and fingers are straight compared to when they are clenched.
What can examining the Eye tell?
Examination of the eye, including the iris, by a trained physician can sometimes tell a lot about disease processes (trauma, inflammation or infection) affecting the eye.
In certain circumstances examination can reveal disease affecting other parts of the body or the entire body.
The list of conditions that might be detectable by ophthalmologic exam is by no means complete. An ophthalmologist is a physician with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. Other physicians having some training in Ophthalmologic exam as part of their training include Internists, Family Physicians, and Emergency Medicine specialists.
How is Iridology supposed to work? 
Iridology , also called iris diagnosis, is based on the belief that each area of the body is represented by a corresponding area in the iris. According to this theory, a person's state of health and disease can be diagnosed from the color, texture, and location of various pigment flecks in the eye.
Iridology practitioners claim to diagnose "imbalances" that can be treated with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and similar products. Some also claim that the eye markings can reveal a complete history of past illnesses as well as previous treatment. One textbook, for example, states that a white triangle in the appropriate area indicates appendicitis, but a black speck indicates that the appendix had been removed by surgery.
Iridology charts vary somewhat in the location and interpretation of their iris signs. Sclerology is similar to iridology but interprets the shape and condition of blood vessels on the white portion (sclera) of the eyeball.
Can examining the Iris diagnose disease in other parts of the body?
Examination of Iris patterns has no clinical use in detecting problems not related to the eye. No correlation has ever been proven between patterns on specific areas of the Iris and the presence or absence of disease.
Results from studies with "Experienced Iridologists"
There three controlled studies [2, 3, 4]in which trained iridologists were asked to look at eye photographs of well patients and those with certain disease conditions such as gallbladder and kidney disease. In no case could the iridologists reliably differentiate well patients from disease conditions nor could they tell when the same person was ill or well by examining eye photographs.
Iridology has no diagnostic value. Successful therapies occur either due to placebo or self limited illness. Some multilevel distributors are using iridology as a basis recommending dietary supplements and/or herbs.
Some practitioners of Iridology are well intended but misinformed while others may indeed by using intentional deception.
for an enlightening and candid perspective from a practicing Iridologist who came to the realization Iridology simply does not work by objectively scrutinizing his own work.
Doctors Corner INternet Group, Inc. 1997-2004
February 2, 2002