Analysis of iris isn't always infallible

Dr. T. David Williams, O.D. (Doctor of Optometry), M.S. (Masters of Science), PhD (Dr. of Philosophy).


Kitchener-Waterloo The Record

15 September 1998

I read with interest the Aug. 28 article, The Eyes Have It, on iris analysis.

I find the iris an endlessely fascinating structure. It is beautiful to look at the iris and watch its function, especially at high magnification and with suitable lighting.

Those with a knowledge of the embryonic formation of the iris will be aware that there are a number of disturbances which can occur in the formation of the body which can also cause characteristic appearances in the iris: for example, people who are born prematurely tne to have persistent blood vessels across portions of the pupil (these are of no practical consequence, by the way).

Other people who are born with Down's syndrome have characteristic white spots on the periphery of the iris.

From a standpoint of disease, there are numerous possibilities for changes int the iris appearance, ranging from a darkening of its colour with use of certain medications for glaucoma to a lightening of its colour following inlfammation of the iris.

What concerns me about the article, however, is the assertion it contains that the iris may be read like an infallible map which not only tells the exzaminer which organ is in difficulty, but also which side of the body is affected.

Several studies have been carried out to investigate such claims, and the final verdict has been that such "iris analysis" does not work.

There is no question that the iris may provide useful clues to systemic disease.

A prudent user of health-care services should be aware, however, that "cookbook" methods of diagnosis are not a sensible alternative to more conventional (but more accurate) methods of diagnosis.

T. David Williams
O.D., M.S., Ph.D.

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