Is a diagnostic science which studies the iris of the eye to gain information about the body. Genetic strengths and weaknesses, levels of inflammation and toxaemia, efficiency of the immune and eliminative systems can all be read here."
Further reading (admittedly Wikipedia mostly) suggests the idea that all the organs of the body map onto the iris so that examination of the iris/irises (actually I think it's irides) could tell you about ailments in the various organs. I think this is nonsense. I think the Wikipedia authors do too.
But I have some homework to do on this I think... this is a sort of 'draft post' while I collect some information and check a few things... no rush :)
1. Genetic strengths and weaknesses
I don't doubt that the appearance of the iris is related to a person's genes - heredity plays a role in pigmentation for starters; there are other genetic conditions affecting the iris, for example aniridia.
If someone is born with an error in another organ of the body I can't see any reason why this information would already be available as a marker in the iris... but I suppose I should check!
The iris doesn't appear to change much throughout life so if some other change happens to an organ in the body, during life, it's probably not being reflected in any changes to the iris.
2. Levels of inflammation
They might have a point on this one, provided they limit it to anterior uveitis also known as iritis, which is an autoimmune inflammation of the iris. It affects the whole iris, rather than just a discrete patch of it. Judging from photos on the internet you perhaps wouldn't need to be an iridologist to spot some of the cases...
Possibly there are other inflammatory conditions of the eye but with eye problems I think you can usually tell just by looking at the eye rather than focusing on the iris.
Well I suppose... but I don't think it would be specific to the iris. There are perhaps better clues for toxaemia which in my book means blood poisoning.
4. Efficiency of the immune system
Struggling to see how the iris could tell you much about this. If the iris is inflamed then white blood cells may well be doing their immune 'thing; so at a stretch you could glean some information about the immune system's efficiency. But you can't do this just by looking at the iris, I think some fancy lamps are involved and more high tech equipment.
5. Eliminative systems
Well I think we might be on to something here. Unfortunately I've found only one example - the deposition and buildup of copper in the outer surface of the eye leading to Kayser-Fleischer rings around the iris. This is apparently a sign of Wilson's disease which arises because of a problem with the liver's ability to handle copper.
I don't consider this to be much evidence in favour of iridology though because, again, it affects the whole iris and is not restricted to a particular "liver" section of the iris wherever that might be.
The kidney is also an eliminative system but iridology seems to be useless in detecting problems here...
Ernst, E (2000) Iridology: not useful and potentially harmful. Arch Ophthalmol, 118: 120-121.
------ Other things to consider -------
6. Evidence that iridologists can detect illness from irises
It's not looking good. Asking iridologists to look at people who have a health condition and healthy controls (without knowing who's healthy or not, or what condition they have) results in diagnoses that are no better than chance, or missed diagnoses - false positives and false negatives as well as some 'hits'. Not reliable, not much of a diagnostic tool.
The studies I've found gave iridologists photographs of the eye. I can imagine that in a real world situation an iridologist would see the whole person before looking at their eye, affording plenty of opportunity for cold or hot reading (let's face it you can make some educated guesses about a person's health just by looking at them, perhaps combined with comments made by the person about their health, or their responses to questions or comments).
Of course, if the patient were visiting a doctor then this sort of information would be available to them too, but who has the better record in spotting problems I wonder...
Representation at a distance
The idea of a 'record' of a diseased organ showing up in a different organ - is there a term for that? The concept also crops up in reflexology, a little in palm reading, phrenology to a certain extent - and rumpology (or asstrology).
Can iridologists tell you any information about the health of the eyes?
Let alone any hope of spotting problems in other organs, can iridologists diagnose iritis, Wilson's disease as well as glaucoma, macular degenerative disorders, retinopathy etc.?
Also known as live blood test