It all started in 1837 with a Hungarian 11-year-old boy named Ignatz von Peczely, who had a pet owl. As you know, owls have massive, highly visible eyes. When the owl broke its leg..
A black mark appeared which then changed shape and color until it finally disappeared, after the leg had healed. The healing was visible in the form of a white line.
The boy was determined to become a doctor. He graduated in 1867, and spent 13 years on observing changes in the eyes of his patients, before publishing his iris chart:
As is often the case with groundbreaking innovations, more than one person was concurrently making the same breakthrough: a 14-year old Swedish boy named Nils Liljequist received a vaccination and fell ill with enlarged lymph glands, coughing, malaria, influenza and chronic pain. He noticed how his clear blue eyes changed color, first upon the vaccination and then by the treatment of Iodine and Quinine.
Unlike Ignatz, Nils did not become an allopathic doctor, as he had deep mistrust toward their non-holistic approach, which is quite understandable since he almost got killed by a doctor when he was young. Therefore, he became a priest who used naturopathic medicine, specifically electrohomeopathy.
In 1893 Nils published an book called Diagnosis from the Eye with 270 drawings of how different illnesses corresponded with different shapes and colors in the eyes.
Nils and Ignatz was unaware of each other's work, but still reached notably similar conclusions.
By the way, this history is very western-focused, supposedly iridology has been used win China for at least 3000 years.
When you Google "iridology" and related terms the first page is dominated by Wikipedia, Quackwatch, ScienceBasedMedicine, WebMD and so on.. All of these have one thing in common: They say that every alternative therapy is unproven, unfounded and potentially harmful. This is a natural in this day and age, where people's health are counted in dollars and cents.
It is quite useful when you are aware of this dynamic: when you research an alternative therapy on the sites listed above (and others like them) you will be reading a professionally assembled critique of every aspect of the therapy, and then second step is seeing what the people involved with the therapy is saying.
We will begin with case against iridology.
First of all, the fact that there are more than a handful of different iridology charts which do not fully align with each other, raises skepticism. It also makes studying iridology harder because at best, you can only disprove one particular approach to it.
Most negative articles about iridology centers around an article posted in January 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association where they reviewed all scientific studies on iridology. They could find 77 publications and 17 of them were deemed to be evaluations of the efficacy of iridology, and of these only 4 were deemed to be good enough to be worth looking at. These four studies showed that:
-> 3 iridologists were unable to identify kidney disease -> 6 iridologists were unable to identify gallbladder disease -> 1 iridologist was unable to identify psoriasis, asthma, heart disease and ulcerative colitis -> 1 researcher who looked at 3 peoples eyes and said they all look the same (lol)
All of these have one thing in common: they evaluate iridologists, and not iridology. It would be quite easy to get a handful of doctors as a basis for disproving the efficacy of western health care. Beyond that, it can also at best only disprove a singular aspect of iridology: one disease or illness. By the same reasoning, every incurable disease is proof that western medicine doesn't work. I have only seen one study where they applied a fair experiment design: instead of looking for one singular condition, they took iris photos from 57 patients and compared them to their medical journals and they found a significant link between their allopathic and iris diagnosis. This doesn't say much about the accuracy of iridology, but it does show that it works in principle.
We must also consider that the diagnosis of iridology is different than the one from western medicine, and in all of these studies the latter is assumed to be correct 100% of the time. For instance, in the gallbladder study mentioned above, the "accuracy" of the allopathic diagnosis is that they had gallbladder surgeries post-intervention.. talk about circular logic.
Since 2000, a lot more studies have been made, many with positive findings and some with negative findings: iridology seems notably poor at diagnosing cancer, but effective at diagnosing quite a lot of illnesses that are recognized in western medicine. For instance, a meta review of Korean studies show that iridology is very effective at identifying genetic health factors, and your personality type, it can also accurately diagnose hearing loss and kidney disease
There is a newer and bigger meta-review which sampled a larger amount of studies, a grand total of 25 studies of which 15 was in favor and 10 were not in favor of iridology.
All in all, it is clear that iridology is not complete enough to replace all other diagnostic tools. It is also clear that it can provide accurate, novel diagnostic insight.
But the biggest breakthrough has not been made by human iridologists.. it seems that this is an area that humans will never truly conquer, as machines seem to run circles around us already..!
The big breakthrough in iridology are the droves of recent studies where neural networks have been trained against iris photographs (there are open libraries) to diagnose different health conditions with very high accuracy. Here is an incomplete list of what AI has been effectively trained to diagnose:
A regular phone camera is sufficient quality to take iris photographs (with some training.. it's not easy but you can do it..) for the AIs above to work.
It is only a matter of time before we all have an app on our phone which tracks every aspect of our health, personality and fitness through a daily iris photo. This would be much better value than paying for health insurance! This isn't even that hard to achieve, considering the efficacy of the listed AIs (scroll down for PDFs detailing exactly how they work) so if you are reading this, please considering making this a reality.
When it comes to humans, we will pay money to stay alive, ergo there is money to be made by keeping us constantly sick. This is not the case for animal medicine! This means that there are no economic incentives holding back alternative health practices and therapies, so iridology is widespread and accepted in lots of veterinary circles. It seems to spontaneously arise wherever we have close relation to our animals: Equine iridology is commonly practiced, Indonesians are using iridology to measure stress levels in fish and Brazilians use it on goats
While we are waiting for an AI-based iridology app, we have access to the same charts and resources as real iridologists have. Nothing beats real life experience of course, but I believe the carefulness and self-doubt of the newbie is a strength considering the uncertainty of iridology as a diagnostic method.
The correct way to use iridology, in my opinion, is to see what your iris implies about your systemic health, and try to see if it makes sense to you. More often than not, it does. And then look to address these issues. There is a lot to be gained from this approach. However, don't take an iris diagnosis of an issue as an absolute truth, it's more of a.. red flag.
When you learn to apply basic iridology, it becomes a gift that you can apply to everyone around you, which can be very beneficial. Friends look into each other's eyes!
The basic concepts is that imperfections in the iris is seen as darker discolorations and shapes.
Inflammation and healing is seen as white, which often surrounds the dark parts to showcase the toxicity and the healing in concert.
Below you can see a modern, commonly used iris chart.
There is a free online tool where you can upload a photo of your eye and overlay different iridology charts over it. See the video below and then try it yourself!
If you are serious about learning iridology, then click the link below and download the free ebook.
Go to the /health/ forum to learn more, ask questions and to share your thoughts and ideas.
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