Why is Iridology so misunderstood?

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Author: Bill Caradonna
Date: May 2003
Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,127 words

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Note -- There are 3 groups of people this article is directed to. First are critics who have no real understanding of Iridology, but have negative opinions. Second are Iridologists who have not been exposed to, or are resistant to updated practices in the field. Third are those who understand and practice modern Iridology, but don't have a historical perspective of this evolution.

The art and science of Iridology has been undergoing an evolution typical of many alternative health assessment and treatment practices. Through continued observation and correlation, understanding of iris signs and their meaning has increased. This progress is correlated to advancements in microscopy, photography, and computer imaging, as well as communication between Iridologists regarding their observations.

Limitations of these factors hampered early Iridologists. Older books relied on reproduction of color drawings. Once photography became available, accuracy of the color pictures remained inadequate for many years. Until very recently, computer-based image capture systems weren't able to reproduce highly accurate images. High quality slit lamp microscopy of the live iris has mostly been underutilized. Language differences have hampered communication between Iridologists. To this date, many books and research articles in German and Russian remain untranslated into English.

In North America, books written in the early 1900s formed the basis for Iridology beliefs that are still present today. It is well known that advancement of most alternative medical practices was non-existent here for a significant portion of the last century. This was due to the development of a monopoly of Western or allopathic medicine. The political and economic factors primarily responsible for this have been well-documented. (1) Iridology and other natural medicine practices were forced underground, away from medical or research-based practitioners. Both clinical (patient based) and research oriented approaches have their strengths. The unfortunate result was that there were very few people who had skills in both worlds.

Iridology was kept alive by practitioners whose emphasis was more on patient health care than data collection and analysis. This clinical approach led to the strong correlation of proper nutrition and digestive function being an integral part of achieving and maintaining good health.

In Europe, the political and economic climate that evolved allowed for both worlds to co-exist. Homeopathy and herbal medicine were practiced alongside allopathic approaches. Both MDs and Heilpractikers (Naturopathic practitioners) became involved in Iridology study, evolving the knowledge into a system remarkably different from what has been practiced here. In Russia, Iridology has been taught only to MDs. The higher education level of European Iridologists contrasts with the average Iridologist education level in North America. Because of language issues, many of these observations and advancements have remained inaccessible or available only on a limited basis here.

Meanwhile, several Iridology studies have been reported in Western scientific medical journals. These studies were all poorly designed. They based their evaluations on outdated Iridology dogma and employed Iridologists who had insufficient training or who still followed faulty beliefs. (2-5) This has been discussed at length in several Iridology Review articles. (6, 7)...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A100767865