Iridology is a form of alternative medicine. Now right at this moment your alarm bells should be going off. In fact I’m going to go out on a limb and state that if something is marked as an alternative remedy – then chances are it doesn’t quite work or at least isn’t proven to work. It sounds harsh but think about it – if it was proven to work then modern medicine would have adopted it and it wouldn’t need to be ‘alternative’ anymore. I’ve offended roughly half the population with that statement, and I’m sorry, but sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind.
If you’d still like to read on, then we’ll look at iridology in particular and whether this is the exception that proves the rule.
How Does Iridology (Claim to) Work
So iridology, what is it? Basically this is the belief that it’s possible to infer things about the systemic health of a patient by looking at the characteristics of their iris. This uses an iris chart which splits the iris into specific zones which are believed to correspond to particular parts of the body. There are 80-90 zones in total, and the practitioner will use a flash light or slit-lamp microscope in order to look for tissue changes, irregular stromal architecture and articular pigment patterns.
So if the lower part of the iris just before the 6’oclock position demonstrates unusual patterning then this might indicate a problem with the kidneys. This is generally accepted as the designated kidney zone, but it’s worth noting that there are variations from chart to chart regarding which parts of the body refer to which parts of the iris. This should give you a little more idea about just how reliable this process is. Iridologists also look for ‘contraction rings’ and ‘klumpenzellen’ which are claimed to indicate ‘various’ health conditions dependent on context.
Hopefully you will have noted by now that this is not a particular scientific approach to health, and science/modern medicine has rejected it thusly. Published studies have so far shown entirely negative results with no correlation between the predictions of iridology and the reality of individuals’ health. In fact there is no evidence to suggest that observable changes in the iris are indicative of anything aspect of health or wellbeing and in controlled settings iridology predictions have proven no more successful than random chance in predicting the presence of disease.
And of course the most damning piece of evidence here is simply that the iris does not undergo change throughout the duration of our lives. This is a phenotypical feature dictated by genetics and does not change after birth. Thus the only thing that an iridologist could honestly tell you about your health is that you had a sty or a piece of dust in your eye.
So in short no, iridology does not work. The eyes might be the window to the soul, but they can tell us very little about our health through iris changes. That said, a well-trained optician can tell certain things about our health by examining the eyes – for instance spotting signs of brain tumor.