Iridology: Not Useful and Potentially Harmful | Complementary and Alternative Medicine | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Special Article
January 2000

Iridology: Not Useful and Potentially Harmful

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, England.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(1):120-121. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.1.120

More than 1000 licensed naturopathic physicians practice in the United States,1 and iridology is being described as "the most valuable diagnostic tool of the naturopath."2 Some therapists are using iridology as a basis for recommending dietary supplements and/or herbs.3 Several US iridologist organizations exist: the National Iridology Research Association is an iridologists' service organization, the International Association of Iridologists is the leading organization for European-style iridology and runs training programs (minimum of 72 hours in class), and the Bastyr Naturopathic College in Seattle, Wash, has an elective course on iridology (J. Colton, e-mail communication, December 2, 1998). In the United States, insurance programs do not normally cover iridology, but in some European countries, they do. In Germany, for instance, 80% of the Heilpraktiker (nonmedically qualified health practitioners) practice iridology.4 Ophthalmologists may therefore ask what is iridology and how valuable is it?