Frequently Asked Questions on Iridology
by Jon Miles


Theoretical Aspects of Iridology

Scientific Status of Iridology

Clinical Aspects of Iridology

Return to Miles Research FAQs

Introduction to Iridology

What is Iridology?

Iridology is the study and interpretation of patterns in the human iris as indicator of individual characteristics. Conventional Iridology seeks to identify both specific and general conditions of various organ systems in the body. A related field of inquiry, which studies the behavioral and personality interpretation from the iris is Rayid, a system of analysis whose methodology is distinct and separate from conventional Iridology. Rayid includes non-iris body factors and is associated with a range of specific natural healing methods. More recently the differences are diminishing as Iridologists are studying personality factors in the constitution and Rayid practitioners are identifying body factors with views beyond the iris. Together Iridology and Rayid are interpretive models for identifying individual traits from patterns in the iris.

How does the iris illustrate the whole body?

The iris illustrates the whole person, including the whole body and the whole mind. Individual traits are identified at two levels, static and dynamic.

The static traits are the constitutional qualities as shown by the overall structure and color of the iris, and the dynamic traits are indicated by small changes in the iris during the person's life. More advanced methods can be applied for identifying the past chronology of accumulated iris markings. Dynamic iris traits are primarily localized color change due to pigmentation buildup. Less common and slower to show are textural changes, which are usually secondary to iris dystrophy.

The iris is like a chalkboard which does not get erased. Typically the human iris starts out with a clear blue color and soon becomes brown in the more melanized individual or remains blue in the less melanized one. During subsequent life, color is slowly added to the iris via melanogenesis. The color may be added in spots or in diffuse patterns, it is a cumulative process, and much of the pigmentation takes place in the first decade of life. The way that color is added via selective melanogenesis to the iris one is born with, is like a unique signature applied throughout life to one's own custom watermarked letterhead.

Theoretical Aspects of Iridology

How does the Iris Reflex work?

Each part of the whole body contains information on all parts of the body. This is true for all forms of life, at the level of genetic encoding for metabolic processes, cellular respiration, and tissue generation. For example cutting off some trimmings from a Geranium bush and sticking the branches into the ground triggers a differentiation process, changing the cut end into a root system and produces a new Geranium bushes. Many similar examples can be found in both invertebrate and vertebrate physiology, including planaria, salamanders, and cloning which has been successfully performed on many mammals including humans. This is the 'holistic principle' and is also found in the method of laser holographic recording, where any small portion of the holographic recording contains the entire image. This property has also been found among fractals (recursive mathematical expressions), and is known as self-similarity.

Genetic self-similarity is a well-known and established property of all forms of life at the molecular DNA encoding level. At issue is whether there may be an analogous property at the ultrastructural or anatomic levels, specifically, in the form of the hypothesized correspondence between the iris structure and the qualitative properties of specific organ systems. The hypothesis arises from empirical observations (made by medical doctors and other researchers over the last 300 years) which suggest that certain dysfunctional states are indicated by localized textural and chromatic properties of the iris.

The structural correspondence between iris tissue and organ systems is not unreasonable to consider based on the prima-facie evidence. Whether the iris structure may change during a person's life in response to functional changes in organ status is a separate and further issue which presupposes the primary structural correspondence.

What are some limitations of Iridology?

The limitations exist primarily in the incomplete understanding and lack of rigorous scientific protocol among those who practice and study the topic. The limitations are not specific to any geographic or political boundaries. In the practical sense, the use of diagnostic information from the iris is limited in the specificity of its response to ongoing physiological processes. It is also limited in having slow response times; for example, injuries and sudden changes in health status are not indicated in the iris (despite legends and lore to the contrary).

What are some differences between the 'American' and 'European' schools of thought?

The labels 'American' and 'European' are highly misleading actually, but to use them in the vague and undifferentiated way which they customarily are, one could say that the beliefs propagated by Jensen represent a mixture of turn-of-the-century (and somewhat judgmental) notions of pigmentation and iris color published by Felke, Liljequist, Thiel, Lane, Kritzer, and other Germans, along with (more importantly) the toxemia-based interpretation and treatment of illness developed by Hippocrates, Hering, Kellogg, Christopher, Collins, Shelton, and numerous others in the 'Natural Hygiene' schools of thought. A dominant theme in the Jensen protocol is the emphasis on facilitating outflow from the body of waste material through the five major channels of elimination (colon, kidneys, skin, lungs, and the lymphatic drainage system). This approach includes allowing and encouraging catarrhal release rather than suppressing it as an unwanted symptom. By combining iris interpretation with dietary and detoxification approaches to health, Jensen made Iridology practical and useful as a clinical methodology. The big contribution from Jensen was the emphasis on cleansing and natural foods as the pathway to health, and the use of the iris as a symbol of one's health status. The main drawback to this approach was the implication that the iris can change in response to therapeutic treatment, a notion that has not been supported by any evidence. Meanwhile the detailed and scientific observations of the German researchers has led to detailed topographic mappings and a taxonomy of features which include many correlations. The primary emphasis in the 'European' approach is to identify constitutional type from iris structure, and this is an essential starting point.

Scientific Status of Iridology

How commonplace is the use and study of Iridology?

According to literature records, Iridology has been studied for at least 300 years, but was not structured in a systematic and detailed way until about 150 years ago. During the past century, the methodology has been used primarily by chiropractors, nutritionists, and herbalists. There are an estimated 10,000 practitioners of Iridology in the U.S. Although Iridology is given considerable scientific attention in Europe, it has not yet found widespread acceptance among the scientific and medical communities in the U.S.

What are some of the better research studies in Iridology?

The correlation between amount of iris pigmentation and age, as shown by Velchover, et al., is a good example of a well-designed epidemiological study. The AMA-published study 'Looking for gallstones in the iris' is a good example of poorly executed research carried out to support preconceived beliefs and biased agenda.

What is needed to advance the state of the art in Iridology?

To advance the state of the art, a baseline study of iris color and texture is needed, then a study of correlations between iris structure and health predispositions.

What direction is the Art and Science of Iridology going?

The rigorous application of scientific and objective methodology to the theoretical beliefs and more professional standards of practice are necessary to elevate the status of iris analysis techniques to a modern position. Iridology is benefiting from the development of technology. At Miles Research we have been developing professional instrumentation and clinical software for years, and are also setting up groupware, intranet, and network systems for collaborative work in both the clinic and the lab.

What is needed to increase the acceptance of Iridology?

Iris analysis will eventually become an accepted and respected field of inquiry and will also see widespread clinical application in mainstream health care. This will be accelerated by the use of the iris for identification purposes. Baseline studies of individual differences in iris color (population variations) and longitudinal studies of color change, however are a prerequisite to the testing and validation of the diagnostic model.

What issues have kept Iridology from receiving the visibility and recognition it deserves?

Iridology has been used in a mostly non-technical way, and often by amateurs or those without rigorous training in health-care. As a result, orthodox medicine has not seen the redeeming value in a field cluttered with erroneous and oversimplified belief. Lack of scientific and professional conduct among some iridologists has contributed to the perception of Iridology as little more than fortune-telling. Color patterns in the iris are seen as having about the same significance as freckles on your face. The patterning is considered a random process without diagnostic value, however, in time both the iris color patterns as well as skin melanization may be recognized for what is can represent of the client's physiological status. It is interesting to note that "palm-reading" has benefited from scientific systematization and analysis by experts in fingerprint identification, who have developed a taxonomy of dermatoglyphs (skin patterns). A similar trend may be seen for the iris.

What seem to be the stumbling blocks that keep it from being used by mainstream medical personnel?

In addition to the above-mentioned problems with professionalism, the other hurdle for the medical approach is the concept of 'Reflex' which is the phenomenon of information referral via autonomic nervous system, ch'i meridians and other more subtle energy pathways throughout the body. Orthodox medicine does not recognize phenomena that is too subtle to detect with instrumentation, much less the possibility that health in terms of structural and operational status can be indicated in patterns having a direct correspondence mapping to the whole body, appearing in the iris or any other part of the body.

What mutual effort(s) could be made to make it more accepted by the mainstream medical community?

"The proof is in the pudding" or "if the shoe fits, wear it," so to speak, but the burden of proof by presentation of evidence to support the effectiveness, usefulness, and importance of Iridology is on the iridologist. Rigorous research protocol is necessary to be taken seriously as a field that merits scientific inquiry. The status of the field of Iridology will rise as the more scientific workers turn their attention to it and as the iridologist develops a successful and professional health-care practice.

What studies are needed (highest priority to lowest) to confirm or disprove elements relating to Iridology?

Studies are needed in natural history of iris color change throughout life, population studies in all areas of the world to develop demographic and epidemiologic profiles of color and texture distribution, examining clinical correlates from empirical data, establishment of protocols and standards in both methodology and technology, and recruitment of biomedical experts to participate in research by providing necessary technical resources.

Clinical Aspects of Iridology
What is the clinical usefulness of Iridology?

The use of iris interpretation has great clinical benefit. A close look at the iris reveals a detailed illustration of ones intrinsic qualities as well as records of specific responses in the past. More advanced methods enable the interpretation of ancestral genetic factors leading to the current individual status.

Why might a medical practitioner want to refer a patient to an iridologist?

If the client has general systemic problems of an unresolved nature including symptoms ranging from simple diffuse feelings of malaise to systemic chronic disturbances, referral for evaluation by an iridologist is an efficient means of acquiring an objective genetic profile of the client's constitutional characteristics, both physiological and behavioral. The iridologist combines this information with other clinical data such as presentation, main complaints, reported habits and lifestyle patterns, and symptomatic manifestations such as skin changes and posture to form a holistic profile of the client's trajectory along their pathway through their life situations. From this picture, a health building plan is developed based on any of several alternative treatment modalities, including nutritional programs, homeopathic and aromatic application, lifestyle upgrade recommendations, affirmations, exercise, meditation, and similar processes that serve to clear the disturbance at several levels.

What qualities and qualifications should one look for in a practitioner of Iridology?

The same type of qualities that you would seek in any health-care professional. Professionalism includes prompt and courteous attention to the client, respectful and efficient conduct of examination, adequate instrumentation, data collection and record keeping, efficient and hygienic operation of the office and lab areas, purposive interview dialog, clear and detailed explanation of the Iridology findings and a suitably customized solution or program as a documented health plan to take home and follow.

How is Iridology applied in a health consultation?

The practitioner who uses Iris Analysis will normally examine the iris by direct view with an illuminated magnifier, or acquire a photographic image of the iris on the client's initial visit. The iris is inspected for textural and chromatic features, which are noted along with global properties. From both specific features and combinations of features, an interpretive model is applied to derive an evaluation of the client's physical and psychological disposition. Any bias (imbalance) or predisposition which is evident from the iris pattern interpretation is noted and considered in subsequent health planning. Identification of somatic and psychic constitutional factors facilitates the development of an individually optimized protocol.

What clinical and research systems are available?

The iris imaging systems developed and made available by Miles Research are specifically designed with modularity and standardization for unified practice management and integration with other office functions. Adequate data collection is essential for a more accurate and scientific view of your client base and work progress. Efficient management of information improves quality of service.

Return to Miles Research FAQs

Home Company Products Prices Ordering FAQs Register Contact Links