Catalogue Number: 1349
Letter to the Secretary Victorian Optical Association from Cyril H Flower about iridology
Sub-Category: Letter, notes, memos
Author: FLOWER Cyril H
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1940
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Publisher/Manufacturer: C H Flower
Description Of Item: Single page typed letter on quarto-sized cream paper bearing the letterhead of Cyril H Flower, optometrist and iridologist, at National Bank Chambers 279 Collins Street Melbourne C1 dated January 8th 1940. The letterhead carries a picture of the iridiascope invented by Mr Flower. (see pic). The letter advises the Association of the writer's recent visit to England and America made to introduce his Iridiascope and the positive reception he had from optometrists in those two countries.
Historical Significance: Iridology (also known as iridodiagnosis) is an alternative medicine technique whose proponents believe that patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient's systemic health. Practitioners match their observations to iris charts which divide the iris into zones corresponding to specific parts of the human body. Iridologists see the eyes as "windows" into the body's state of health. The first explicit description of iridological principles are found in Chiromatica Medica, a famous work published in 1665 and reprinted in 1670 and 1691 by Philippus Meyeus (Philip Meyen von Coburg). The first use of the word Augendiagnostik ("eye diagnosis," loosely translated as iridology) began with Ignaz von Peczely, a 19th-century Hungarian physician. The German contribution in the field of natural healing is due to a minister Pastor Felke, who developed a form of homeopathy for treating specific illnesses and described new iris signs in the early 1900s. However, Pastor Felke was subject to long and bitter litigation. The Felke Institute in Gerlingen, Germany was established as a leading centre of iridological research and training. Iridology became better known in the United States in the 1950s, when Bernard Jensen, an American chiropractor, began giving classes in his own method. It is of interest that an Australian optometrist was an early advocate of this form of eye diagnosis which persists despite lack of empirical evidence for it.
Location: Archive office. Pamphlet and ephemera filing cabinet. Drawer 2