can iridology detect cancer?


can iridology detect cancer?

1)Can iridology detect susceptibility to cancer?

iridology images 1.3MP (15)


This prospective case-control study aimed to investigate the value of iridology as a diagnostic tool in detecting some common cancers.


One hundred ten (110) subjects were enrolled in the study: 68 subjects had histologically proven cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, prostate, or colorectum, and 42 were control subjects.


All subjects were examined by an experienced practitioner of iridology, who was unaware of their gender or medical details. He was allowed to suggest up to five diagnoses for each subject and his results were then compared with each subject’s medical diagnosis to determine the accuracy of iridology in detecting malignancy.


Iridology identified the correct diagnosis in only 3 cases (sensitivity, 0.04).


Iridology was of no value in diagnosing the cancers investigated in this study.

If you screen the irises of the world’s six-year-olds, you’ll find that fully one-fifth of them have hereditary cancer markings registered in reflex relationship to whatever area of the body is susceptible.

These genotypes are light-regulated time bombs held in check only by immuno-resistance and what iridologist Dr. Josef Deck called “compensation.”

Dr. Deck showed that a high number of diseases are hereditary, including many psychoses.


Out of the four of conditions most commonly assessed by practitioners of iridology (hypertension, cancer, gallbladder disease, and kidney disease), only hypertension earned a strength-of-evidence grade of “C,” while the remaining three conditions ended with very weak showings of “D” levels.3

In one study, researchers explored the overlapping of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), hypertension, and specific variations of iris constitution.4 Eighty-seven Korean patients with known hypertension were compared with 79 Korean participants with no known BP concerns.

Individuals were evaluated on iris characteristics, BP, and the presence or absence of the TNF-alpha genotype.4 The study results did not show a statistically significant difference in the genotype and the presence of hypertension, but there was a definite elevation in the hypertensive patients with the iris characteristic denoting cardio-renal connective-tissue weakness

In another study of the same patient population, researchers examined study participants for a correlation of iris characteristics and the presence or absence of apolipoprotein-E (apoE).5 There is a well-established relationship between this genotype and vascular diseases, including hypertension.5 In a blind study, patients were examined by iris pattern and then testing for the apoE genotype.5 There was a significant correlation between iris type and hypertension, and an increased percentage of apoE presence in those same hypertensive patients.5

Both these studies were not large enough to support the practice of iridology. Further trials with larger study populations are needed.

Studies on the practice have also typically focused on the potential utility of iridology as a screening tool for cancer. One trial examined age- and gender-matched participants for the possibility of colorectal cancer.6 Twenty-nine patients with known diagnoses of this disease were matched with 29 healthy patients.

The researchers presented photographic slides of each participant’s eyes to two trained iridology practitioners. At the end of the study, the presence of cancer was detected in only 50%-53% of patients, proving no better than random chance.6

In another trial exploring iridology and cancer detection, 68 patients with known cancer and 42 healthy patients were examined by a single, experienced iridologist. With no other information than the visualization of the iris, the practitioner correctly detected only three cases of cancer.7

Safety, interactions

Because of the noninterventional nature of this practice, there are no contraindications for use. In the United States, there are many organizations for training and education in iridology, but the practice is not regulated by the health-care industry.


Iridology is based on intriguing possibilities, but, to date, evidence-based studies do not support its safety and utility. Some researchers are considering improving the accuracy of the practice by using computer-aided diagnostics. For now, however, the study of the iris for systemic disease indications is far from being a viable clinical tool.

Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP, is a staff clinician at the VA Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where she practices adult medicine and women’s health. She also teaches at the nursing schools of the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas.
iridology images 1.3MP (6)


  1. Salles LF, Silva MJ. Iridology: a systematic review. Rev Esc Enferm USP. 2008;42:596-600.
  2. Buchanan T. An investigation of the relationship between 
anatomical features in the iris and systematic disease with 
 reference to iridology. Comp Ther Med. 2006;4:98-102.
  3. Iridology page. Natural Standard website. Available at
  4. Yoo CS, Hwang WJ, Hong SH, et al. Relationship between iris analysis and TNF-alpha gene polymorphism in hypertensives. Am J Chin Med. 2007;35:621-629.
  5. Um JY, Hwang CY, Hwang WJ, et al. Association between iris constitution and apolopoprotein E gene polymorphism in hypertensives. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10:1101-1105.
  6. Herber S, Rehbein M, Tepas T, et al. Looking for colorectal cancer in the patients iris? Ophthalmologe. 2008;105:570-574.
  7. Münstedt K, El Safadi S, Brück F, et al. Can iridology detect susceptibility to cancer? A prospective case-controlled study. 
J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:515-519.

2)Your Iris Could Diagnose Cancer, Heart Disease, HIV and More

Iridology is the holistic study of the iris of the eye, in which all parts and organs of the body are mapped out as relating to a specific section of the iris. An abnormality or discoloration in a specific section of the eye can help identify trouble in the relating region of the body. While iridology has long been seen as a pseudoscience by the Western world, more and more medical and naturopathic practitioners are beginning to recognize its inherent value.

Iridology uses a chart that has been continually improved upon and updated since the 1800’s to map which organ or body system relates to which part of the iris. A lens magnifying the eye between 4 and 50 times is used to analyze the eye and identify potential issues. While this is an intricate and specialized science, some health problems can be recognized at home just by studying our eyes closely in the mirror.

According to Andrew Iwach, the associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, eyes are, “the only place in the body where you can see a bare nerve, a bare artery, and a bare vein without doing any cutting. And the disease processes we see occurring in the eye are probably occurring in the rest of the body.”

Indeed, signs of diseases such as cancer, HIV, aneurysms, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and rare hereditary disorders can often be spotted in the eye before symptoms appear. For this reason, many ophthalmologists recommend that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam before they turn 40.

As many health issues can obviously appear before a person turns 40, it is important to routinely check your eyes at home for a certain risk factors.

Your Iris Could Diagnose Cancer, Heart Disease, HIV and MoreFor instance, bulging eyes, while in some cases hereditary and not symptomatic of a health issue, are sometimes a sign of thyroid diseases, such as Grave’s disease.

When the outer third of the eyebrow disappears or trails off, it can also indicate thyroid problems.
Yellow in the parts of the eyes which are normally white can indicate liver dysfunction.
Bloody eyes not caused by trauma can sometimes indicate severely high blood pressure or a clotting disorder.
Differently sized pupils and droopy eyelids not caused by aging can be the first signs of serious neurological conditions such as strokes, brain tumors or multiple sclerosis (MS).
Finally, it is crucial to be aware that sudden dim vision, double vision, and loss of vision are the warning signals of an oncoming stroke.

The earlier a health problem is spotted, the sooner the underlying problem can be discovered and the correct treatment plan formulated and applied. Early detection of weak or malfunctioning body systems minimizes the necessity for the intervention of invasive medical procedures. While in some cases, for example a stroke, medical intervention may be necessary and life-saving, in many other cases, spotting a problem in the eye first may allow a natural treatment plan to be put into place as soon as possible, getting you on the road to a healthier life much quicker than if you waited for further symptoms to appear.

Along with self-examination, a trip to an iridologist may bring to light many issues which may otherwise have remained hidden for a very long time.

-The Alternative Daily

iridology images 1.3MP (7)
3)Iridology: Do the Eyes Have It?

C. Eugene Emery, Jr.

The eyes are sometimes called the window to the soul. We watch them to determine whether a person is sincere or lying. When we encounter people, we usually notice their eyes first. So perhaps it’s not surprising that some people believe that eyes provide a window to a person’s health as well.

Signs of a few diseases—most notably atherosclerosis and Wilson’s disease (a disorder of copper metabolism)—can appear in the colored portion of the eye (the iris). But iridologists profess that the iris can be used to diagnose virtually any disease. They claim that examination of eye markings can reveal not only current health problems but indications of past problems. Typically, they consider themselves “holistic” and recommend dietary supplements to correct whatever problems they see.

I first heard of this practice when a local television station aired a story featuring claims by a local iridologist who, according to the TV reporter, had successfully diagnosed someone’s back problems. Another iridologist in nearby Westerly, Rhode Island, was getting coverage in the New London Day newspaper. Subsequently, I discovered that a medical doctor also was dabbling in the field. I decided to investigate.

My first stop was an interview in Westerly with Joseph M. O’Reilly, Jr., a former judo and yoga teacher who called himself a “registered nutrition consultant” and said he had a “Ph. D.” in nutrition from Donsbach University (a nonaccredited correspondence school). Before getting into the nutrition field, O’Reilly said, he had been a parole officer in Florida and a certified sex educator.

O’Reilly told me that iridology could detect cancer with 99% accuracy. He said the shape of the eye and pupil could reveal psychological problems and be used to determine when a person is near death. He also reported that he discourages the use of drugs because “when you put drugs in the body, it just drives the illness deeper into the tissues and cells. You’re just masking the symptoms. You’re not getting to the cause. ”

When he examined my eyes, O’Reilly saw “caffeine spots from too much coffee,” but said the spots could also be caused by too much alcohol. (I never drink coffee and, at most, drink one can of beer per month.)

The iridologist featured in the TV broadcast, Rosemary Hill, also taught at a local holistic health center. During her interview, she stressed that she doesn’t diagnose diseases but “reads conditions in organs that could be construed as a weakness for a disease.” But if you have a heart condition, she said, it would be obvious in the eyes. She also reported that she was in the process of changing her eye color from an unhealthy brown to a healthy blue.

When Hill examined my eyes, she reported some constipation (wrong), cardiovascular problems (nope), a high mucus and acid body (l have no idea how to measure this), stress in the foot area (not that I know of) and fatigue (sorry). She did say correctly that I ate lots of dairy, flour, red meat and sugar products, but that assessment would probably fit most Americans. Next I arranged a test with the help of Dr. Robert Bahr of the Rhode Island Ophthalmological Society, who took slides of the eyes of eight people with various medical problems, such as lung disease, headaches, deafness, and a history of cancer. When I asked Hill to match the slides to the health problem, she declined, explaining that “I don’t work that way.” Instead, she suggested that I try to match her readings to the slides.

Working under those rules, Hill—who had said that iridology was accurate at least 75% of the time—missed the affected organs or body parts in 6 out of 8 slides. That’s surprising if you consider the fact that each of her readings included many organ systems. For example, in the case of a nearsighted person with a history of fainting and a pulse of 54 when the slide was taken, Hill noted “severe acidosis,” “not digesting proteins,” “intestinal tract is a little depressed,” “there is a difficult lung problem there,” “probably tonsils in there too,” “mucus throughout the system,” “congestion in the head,” “not absorbing nutrients,” “esophageal, leg problems,” “shoulder problem” and a “somewhat spastic colon.”

In the two cases where Hill named an organ or body part that actually might be related to the patient’s problem, she was still quite inaccurate. In the slide of a woman with daily headaches, Hill saw “toxins from the bowel dumping into the head area” and blamed “parasites” for the problem. For a woman with hypoglycemia, Hill cited an undefined “glandular problem, ” but she also reported a “possible thyroid problem” and “a lot of toxins in the blood stream.”

The second person to take my test was Robert S. Carson, M. D., medical consultant for the holistic health center. “You can come out with some uncanny diagnoses by looking at the iris,” he said. “The scientific evidence for this is very solidly based. ”

Unlike Hill, Carson did attempt to match the eye slides to the medical records. Despite at least two guesses in each case, he missed the fact that one woman had had a mastectomy and hysterectomy, that another had broken both arms and a leg, that another suffered from headaches and stomach problems, and another had hypoglycemia. He correctly matched the person with severe lung disease—on his second try.

My test also included a pair of slides showing a glass eye against a black background. Although the eye had no lashes and fingerprint ridges of one of the fingers holding it up to the camera were visible, neither of the iridologists mentioned anything amiss.

Bernard Jensen, D.C. (1908-2001), the leading American iridologist, claimed to have worked with over 350,000 patients during almost 50 years of active practice. He stated that “Nature has provided us with a miniature television screen showing the most remote portions of the body by way of nerve reflex responses.” He also claims that iridology reveals “tissue strengths and weaknesses” as well as “nutritional and chemical needs.” His booklet, “Iridology Simplified,” relates more than 30 diseases and conditions (including arthritis, biliousness, gallstones, obesity and tuberculosis) to “mineral deficiencies.” It also contains an “Iridology Nutrition Chart” for determining what vitamins, minerals and herbs to give “after determining those areas of the iris which show a need. ”

Jensen and two other practitioners were tested in a study published in the September 28, 1979 Journal of the American Medical Association. In this study, the iridologists were shown iris photographs of 143 patients, some with severe kidney disease and some with no evidence of kidney problems. The assessment of kidney problems was based on the levels of creatinine in the blood. When asked to identify the people with problems, all three iridologists failed the test [1].

Five Dutch iridologists failed a similar test last year when they tried to detect gallbladder disease by looking at slides of the iris of 39 patients with gallstones (proven by surgery the day after the slides were made) and 39 patients without gallstones (proven by ultrasound examination). The iridologists were correct only half the time (the result expected by chance), and did not agree among themselves about which patients had gallstones and which did not [2].

Iridologists use detailed charts relating the location of various eye markings to problems in various parts of the body. In 1981, the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs noted that such charts are similar in concept to those used years ago in “phrenology,” the pseudoscience that related protuberances of the skull to the mental faculties and character of the individual [3]. Russell S. Worrall, an assistant clinical professor at the School of Optometry of the University of California, Berkeley, has noted that at least 19 iridology charts exist but that all have differences in the location and interpretation of many of their iris signs.

Despite all this, iridology apparently persists for some of the same reasons psychic practices and astrology remain popular.

  • Since most ailments are self-limiting, most people who consult iridologists are likely to feel better with the passage of time. So if symptoms resolve while following an iridologist’s advice. the iridologist will get the credit.
  • Iridologists are probably helped by feedback from their patients, and patients often take the iridologist’s musings and fit them to events in their life.
  • Many of their claims are difficult or impossible for laypersons to evaluate. Hill, for example, contended that the iris not only reveals information about your present medical problems, but can reflect past and future problems as well. Thus, if she sees a back problem in your eyes, she can claim credit whether your back bothers you now, has bothered you in the past, or bothers you in the future. She also claimed that the structure of the iris can provide information about the health of your ancestors.

But from a practical standpoint—the ability to detect virtually any disease in the iris—the eyes clearly don’t have it.

For Additional Information

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Mr. Emery writes for the Providence Journal. This article was originally published in the January/February 1989 issue of Nutrition Forum Newsletter.


  1. Simon A and others. An evaluation of iridology. JAMA 242:1385-1387, 1979.
  2. Knipschild P. Looking for gall bladder disease in the patient’s iris. British Medical Journal 297:1578-1581, 1988.
  3. AMA Council on Scientific Affairs. Reports of the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1981. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1982.
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