History of Iridology
In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, writings and works on Iris markings and their meanings were recorded, mainly by medical practitioners.
One of the earliest was Dr Ignatz von Peczely, a Hungarian Doctor. While still a child he accidentally broke the leg of an owl. He noticed a black mark appearing in the owl’s eye, which over time changed in form and shading.
Ignatz von Peczely qualified in medicine at the Vienna Medical College in 1867. He had ample opportunity to study the irises of patients before and after surgery, systematically recording, correlating and publishing his research in the book Discoveries in the Realms of Nature and Art of Healing. His Iris Chart was established in 1880.
In the 1860s, a young Swedish boy, Nils Liljequist became ill as the consequence of a vaccination, followed by doses of quinine and iodine. He noticed the changes in colour of his formerly blue eyes, as the drug spots appeared.
In 1870, he published a paper describing his experiences, Quinine and Iodine change the Colour of the Iris, and in 1893 published Om Oegendiagnosen, which included his Iris Chart.
We should not be surprised that Liljequist and von Peczely’s Iris Charts were very similar.
In Germany, homeopaths Dr Emil Schlegel and Dr Alfred Stiegele interested in the work of von Peczely furthered the spread of iridology. Felke inspired others such as Magdalena Madaus (1857–1925), Heinrich Hense (1868–1955), Peter Johann Thiel (1861–1948) and the more familiar Josef Deck (1914–1990) whose iris charts are used by many students of iridology today. The daughter of Magdalena Madaus, Eva Flink (1886–1959) made her contribution through writings which she published on the subject, and others who followed in her footsteps included Hans Struck (1899–1963), Alfred Maubach (1893–1954), Gunter Lindemann and Dr Anton Markgraf who lectured on iridology for many years.
Much of the American medical research originated with the work of Dr Henry Edward Lane and his student, Dr Henry Lindlahr. Dr Lane carried out most of his surgical and autopsy correlations with Iride markings at the Kosmos Sanitarian in Evanston, Illinois. His book Iridology — The Diagnosis from the Eye was published in 1904, in which he states “…thousands were examined before just one marking could be considered corroborated”.
Dr J Haskel Kritzer recorded his lifetime of research into Iris diagnosis in his book Iridiagnosis, soon to be republished by the Holistic Health College. His work spurred on Bernard Jensen, a student of Dr Lindlahr, into further research and the development of an updated Iris Chart with Dr John R. Arnold, founder of the World Iridology Fellowship. Dr Arnold was the main instigator in changing the term ‘iridiagnosis’ to ‘iris analysis’, which more accurately reflects that it is a means of analysing ‘conditions within’ rather than specific diseases.
Interest and research in the field of iridology is ongoing and becoming ever more exciting. With scientific advance in microscope technology, viewing the iris in greater detail is improving all the time. Therefore research and new findings are being published and now written in many more languages than the earlier work which was mostly available only in German. International pioneers of modern research include Dr Daniele Lo Rito, John Andrews, Papagino Bellinfante, Dr Vincenzo Di Spazio, Dr Mikhail Dailakis, Harri Wolf and Dr Pierre Fragnay. These and others have all contributed to the research in iridology from the 1970s through today.