Based on Foreign text
by unknown authors, compiled by Leo Bongaards ND MH
480 – 360 BC) is said to have used the eyes for diagnosis and the Aztecs practiced
some form of eye diagnosis around 1000 BC, Stone carvings show the
use of the eye for purpose of determining illness. The
Babylonians most likely used iridology and the Chinese and Japanese
are said to have used the varying colours of the iris as part of
The bible, one of the
oldest books, states in the gospel of Luke:
“The light of your
body is your eye. If your eyes are pure, your whole body has light,
if however the eyes are bad , then your body has darkness.....
Or an other
translation of this text:
lamp of the body is the eye. When your eyes are sound, you have
light for the whole body, but when your eyes are bad, you are in
Philipus Meyens was
the first in modern history
to publish a work on iridology named Chiromantia
This was in 1670 in
Germany, this book made an
interesting study of iris signs and its relation to illnesses and
had a small map of the Iris with respective areas of some parts of
the human body. Next was Johann Sigmund Eltzholtz (Nürnberg, 1695),
who expanded on the studies of Meyens.
In 1813 the Viennese
optician Beer wrote about iris diagnosis: "Everything which affects the
organism effect the iris, it cannot not remain without effecting the
eye, and in reverse”.
R.Schnabet 1882-1952 is the most
well-known representative of scientific eye diagnosis. He
wrote three books concerning iris diagnosis.
Then, almost a century
later, in Göttingen, Christian Haertls, who
based his findings on the studies of Meyens and Eltzholtz, launches
a controversial and important work and in 1786 an other German, Doctor
Härtels, published ‘de oculo et signo’, “The eye
However it was the
Hungarian physician Ignatz von Peczely (1822-1911) that made
Iridology known in
According to history,
(now viewed as a fable) von Peczely only a boy than, caught an owl and broke it’s leg in the trap
Looking in the owls eye, he saw a fine trace appear in the inferior region of
the corresponding Iris of the owl. The young von Peczely was curious
about the marking that appeared. He nursed the owl to good health
and noticed that the trace in the Iris virtually disappeared, to
leave only one very tenuous mark. He studied other authors’ works on the
subject and when Peczely became a physician he developed his
knowledge even more and was able to do comparative research in
He made many
discoveries and in 1881, after many difficulties, he launched his
first work (Entdeckungen auf dem
Gebiete der Natur- und Heilkunde – Anleitung zum Studium der
Diagnose aus dem Auge). Rather a mouth full
“Discovery In Natural History And Medical Science, A Guide To The
Study And Diagnosis From The Eye”.
Many works on the
subject have appeared later in Europe, mainly in
Germany. The priest Emanuel
Felke (1856-1926) made iridology more popular still and
throughout the whole of
Europe. Heinrich HENSE lived
from 1868 to 1955 and was a pupil of minister Felke, while Mrs Von
Wad had a college in Dresden teaching
In the beginning of
the decade around 1900 Iridology was introduced in the
States by Dr. Nils
Liljequist, a Swedish homeopath, who had noticed iris colour changes
when he took medication, he may have exchanged information with von
Peczely as they both worked on iris charts around the same time. It
would be worth noting that 80% of the healing was done with
homeopathic medicine in America at that time. It was
only after allopathic
doctors formed an association called “the AMA” and started to
lobby politicians that slowly but surely homeopathy was replaced by
allopathic medicine. IN 1904 Dr. Henry Lahn (Lane) born in
Austria, writes the book "The
diagnosis from the eye" in the
USA. This publication
makes iridology popular in the States. In more recent times it was a
North American, Dr.
Bernard Jensen, that developed the map of the Iris that is still in
use all over the world. After Dr. Jensen’s passing his daughter
Tart-Jensen has revised and
updated the chart. The French physician Professor Jossin, who is
regarded as a pioneer of modern iridology, produced iris charts
which are still in use today. The following names are also worth mentioning: To Dr.
Kritzer, Farida Davidson, Harry wolf, Dorothy Hall and Paul Angeren, all
well respected teachers of iridology.
much knowledge in the West
in Russia iridology has been practiced widely.
Being cheap and quick
this form of diagnosis must have appealed to the Russian
institutions at the time.
Bulgaria had its own Iridology master: "Petar
Dimkov lived from1886 - 1981. He finished the military college in
multiple gun shut wounds during the war he followed in the family
tradition and practiced alternative medicine"- A book with his
findings was published in 1998 and some unpublished works have been
found, which may still be translated into
With communication being less
restrictive now, much of the information and some charts of the
former USSR have made it to the
Iridology was given a
boost when In Germany between 1950 and 1954
when clinical studies on 640 patients were conducted by Dr. Walter
Lang and Joseph Deck in
the hospital in Karlsruhe under the supervision
of Dr. Vida. The
patients where diagnosed by iridology as well as by traditional
The reliability was found to be
around 75% At that time. However a follow-up study found that in the
next 5 years 95% of the findings had
Limburg” found that there was
no relationship between
markings in the iris and the presence of gall
stones. The iridologists
in this trial could not diagnose the
gallstones in the patients. In
the USA a study was conducted
that included Bernhard
Jensen. He also fell into the trap when he was asked to diagnose
Western medicine conditions and could not.
Other negative findings:
2. Simon A and others. An evaluation of iridology.
JAMA 242:1385-1387, 1979.
3. Cockburn DM. A study of the validity of iris
diagnosis. Australian Journal of Optometry. 64:154-157, 1981.
4. Knipschild P. Looking for gall bladder disease in
the patient's iris. British Medical Journal 297:1578-1581, 1988.
Most of these studies where designed in
such a way that Apples and Oranges were compared. Iridology has limitations
much the same as every other means of
The iris shows nerve reflexes only, it can not be compared with
chemical analysis of blood and urine. Some trauma to the body, done
under anastatic may not show in the iris or the recording may be
delayed. Some reports state that TB can be detected in the iris long
before a test (for the Bacillus of Koch) will confirm the condition.
Kidney problems may only be discovered when the patient complains
about the pain. After investigation it may be found that 90% of the
kidney is diseased. In the iris kidney deficiency is noted long
before there is pain, nourishment of the organ may avoid or delay
the 90% degeneration.
Critics make much of
the negative findings but one must remember that the iris mainly
reveals tendencies to under or over activity, it records medical
events, as parting of fibers, and it tells a lot about the
constitution and inherited weaknesses of the person. The information
can be used to prevent
or delay major illnesses. On the other hand some have taken to
interpreting the eyes in physiological tendencies; the Rayed method
is on of these. By learning the lessons of a particular iris group
or sub group we advance and overcome our physical problems,
according to the Rayed study.
Reveal constitutional strength. Are we built strong or weak? How
well do we endure stress?
Reveal the health level.
Reveal nutritional and chemical needs. What elements are lacking and
Reveal location of environmentally obtained
Reveal the quality of nerve force and what is the condition of the
Reveal the response to treatment, how fast the body heals and at
Reveal over acid levels in the body.
Reveal the whole body as a unified structure and it's overall
Iridology does not reveal disease names. Often there are situations
and conditions that develop long before any symptoms appear in the
It does not reveal operations performed under anaesthesia. Nerve
impulses are short circuited under these
It does not reveal pregnancy, because it is a normal bodily
It does not reveal gallstones.
It is not a psychic analysis.
Iridology cannot tell what accident occurred but it can reveal which
tissue was damaged.
It cannot tell specific pathology in the body.
It cannot pinpoint the location of parasites, germs or bacterial
invasion. It does show the conditions of tissue and if it might be
conducive to these invasions.
There is no doubt a
lot more is to be found in the iris and sclera of the eyes and
research is being carried out in may parts of the world. All agree
however that not 2 eyes are identical and that the iris is not part
of our ability to see. So what can the purpose of an iris be?
The very latest
research in Italy by Dr. Daniele Lo Rito
focuses on relationship
issues, a Contemporary Analysis
of the Inner Pupillary Border and then there is the time risk research by English
scientist John Andrews claiming to have thousands of
case studies. These are just a few of the on-going research projects into the secrets the
eyes can reveal. Modern digital cameras make observations so much
easier, the equipment can show individual fibres and record colour
changes from visit to visit .
As practitioners we
must observe and ask questions from our patients to learn more and
more of this wonderful science.
Leo Bongaards ND MH
(If you have information
about Iridology research, past of present in your native country
please let me know so I can include it in this
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