“Behold the eyes, behold the body.”

— Hippocrates

Photo credit: zzathras777 on

Put simply, iridology is the study of the iris (the colored part) of the eye, just like neurology is the study of the brain and nervous system and cardiology is the study of the heart and the circulatory system.

Assessing the iris is scientific. In some countries, only licensed medical doctors are allowed to practice iridology. Here in the United States, Iridologists are trained and can be certified through the International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA).

Modern iridology got its start in 1861. Dr. Ignatz von Peczely remembered an owl that he had seen as a child that had a broken leg. It had a line appear in its eye. As a practitioner, he saw this line in the same area of the iris in one of his patients with a broken leg. This led him to start observing the irises of his patients and documenting his findings. With time, others began to study irises as well.

Every person’s iris is unique. This is why they can use “iris identification” … it’s as unique as your fingerprint!

By looking at the color, pigmentations, and structure of the iris, we can see genetic tendencies for strengths and weaknesses in the body.

When you have an iridologist assess your iris, they’re really looking for genetic tendencies. The structure of the iris can reveal the health of your ancestors (up to 3-4 generations!) and what they have passed down to you. For example, there is a sign that can be seen in the “lung field” of the iris that can indicate that your grandparent had tuberculosis; this can result in a weakness in your own lung, a deficiency in the ability of your lungs to receive nutrients and remove toxins. By looking at these tendencies in your irises, an iridologist is able to see areas that you can focus on in order to better your health.

How are we able to see strengths and weaknesses in various organs of the body in the irises?

It’s very simple: when you were developing as a fetus, the iris developed from the mesoderm and the neural tube … the same tissue that makes up the brain and spinal cord.

The muscles within your iris are the only muscles in the body derived from the neural tube.

The iris has over 28,000 nerve endings and is connected to the brain via the optic nerve; it is thereby connected to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and the spinal cord … and from there, the rest of the body!

We are truly wonderfully made!

So, let’s look at an example. This is my left iris:

If you don’t get this close up to my eye, my eyes look green. But here you can see that they’re actually blue! Blue with lots of pigments = green.

A blue iris is called a “lymphatic type”. This means that people with blue eyes tend to need lymphatic support.

We tend to have mucus because our lymph system is overactive. Autoimmune issues. Infections of tonsils, lungs, upper respiratory tract, sinuses, urinary system, digestive system and joints. Skin issues like eczema and dry skin. Arthritis. Stressed kidneys and adrenals, weak thyroid, and so on.

Each person can also have a “subtype” to their iris. See that dark ring around the edge of the iris? That’s a “scurf rim”. It means I’m thick skinned and stubborn, but it also means I hang on to things … I don’t detox easily. It also often is a sign that skin can be affected.

See the yellow blobs? Those can also be white. Yellow means they’ve been there for a while (chronic). They’re called tophi, and they’re a sign of lymphatic congestion (think lymph nodes).

Also, if you see the white fibers in the blue area underneath all that yellow, the fibers are quite white, and my eyes have a steel grey appearance. This is called a “febrile” subtype, meaning my body tends to be acidic, and I likely had fevers as a kid (I did. They would frequently get up to 105F).

Next, see how my eye almost looks like a flower lays over top of it with all those “holes” or “petals”? This is called polyglandular.

Each of those “holes” (called a lacuna) signify weakness in a particular organ. It means less nutrition gets into that organ, and less toxins come out.

For example, that big one at the bottom just past 6:00 (Iridologists pretend your eye is like a clock to be able to note where various signs are seen) is the kidney reaction field. And a lot of that yellow pigment also signifies weakness in the urinary system.

Something else that jumps out at me: orange pigment. Orange pigment = blood sugar/pancreas concerns. Also, there are several lacunae in both of my eyes in the pancreas fields. This would be an area I would want to focus on!

Stress rings (also called contraction furrows) are lines that appear to follow the edge of the iris and circle around it between the pupil and the edge of the iris. They indicate a tendency for tension and anxiety. People with these can burn through minerals quickly. Found in the brain reaction field, they can indicate a tendency for tension headaches.

The thicker or raised (in my case, star shaped) ring around the eye is called the “nerve wreath” or “collarette”. This is composed of a circle of arteries interwoven with nerves from the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It lets us see a lot about how our body handles stress, and how we’re doing getting nutrition from our stomach and digestive system (the area inside the collarette, closest to the pupil) to the rest of our body (outside the collarette). This is a super important part of the body/eye!

So, those are just a few things (the very basic!) of what an iridologist can see when they look at someone’s iris. Then there’s sclerology, where you can look at the white part of a person’s eyes. While iridology shows you the genetic tendency to do something, the sclera shows what’s really happening in the body right now (the pupil is also something that can show subluxations in the spine in real time). Blood vessels in the sclera can point to various regions of the eye or iris, showing where the body could use extra support at the moment. It can reveal the need for circulatory support, venous congestion or hardening, allergies and sensitivities, how the body is metabolizing fat, and more.

What Iridology Can Do:What Iridology Can’t Do:
Reveal inherent strengths and deficiencies of organs, glands and tissues. Inherently weak organs do not utilize nutrients as well as they should, nor do they have the ability to discharge toxicity.Diagnose or give the name of any disease a person may have, or have had or identify pathology.
Can show the potential ability of an organ to react to illness. White raised signs can show a potential for irritability and/or possible inflammation. Dark grey/black areas can indicate little or no ability to react.Determine if a person has had surgery unless it was an eye surgery.
Can show familial patterns of various syndromes and pathologies such as GI disorders, low blood sugar, blood anomalies, or heart problems.Indicate precise blood pressure levels.
Can show certain foods that a person could have difficulty digesting or utilizing.Determine if a person has parasites or imbalanced Candida levels (although signs of fermentation leading to the presence of yeast and parasites can be seen in the sclera)
Can show from the pupil border areas of the spine that may have subluxation (misalignments)Confirm the presence of viruses, germs, or bacteria.
Can show potential central and autonomic nervous system imbalance and circulatory disturbances.Determine if a woman is pregnant or has had an abortion.
Can indicate potential connective tissue weakness and a tendency towards varicose veins, hernias, hemorrhoids, or scoliosis.Indicate whether a tumor is present or what size it may be
Can indicate a potential for glandular deficiencies.Show whether or not a person has kidney stones, gallstones, or give an exact cholesterol or uric acid level in the body
Can indicate there is potential for high uric acid levels, serum cholesterol levels, and lymphatic congestionDetermine whether or not a hemorrhage exists unless it is located in the visible layers of the eye; it cannot show if arteries are blocked or hardened, though a potential for this may be seen (especially in the sclera)
Distinguish the gender or age of a person, predict their life span or time of death, tell whether or not they need surgery, or tell if a specific tooth is problematic
Tart-Jensen, E. (2012). Techniques in Iris Analysis, Textbook for Iridology. Infinite Iris.

When I do an iris assessment:

First, I obtain an intake form from the client to give me an idea of what concerns them the most at present and what they would like to improve. It tells me a bit about their eating, sleep and exercise habits as well as their background when it comes to natural medicine.

Then, I look at pictures that they send me (or that I have taken) of both their irises and their sclera (the white part) of both eyes. I look first for major signs that “jump out” at me, but I also analyze smaller details and how all of this fits together into an overall picture for them.

After I have done this, I will write up a report with my findings and recommendations, both based on the information they shared with me as well as the information I found when assessing their eyes. I can tailor these recommendations specifically to them:

  • A basic report will include any recommendations I feel could be helpful, whether these are food choices, lifestyle choices, herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and so on. On the intake form, I do include a section where you can share what natural methods you are familiar with or already using. I can use this to help recommend things that are most helpful to you personally

To learn more and schedule an iris assessment: