Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

This section should be read in conjunction with the entry on Health: Therapies (General)

What is Iridology?

This discipline works on the principle that practitioners can examine patterns, colours and characteristics in the iris in order to diagnose current and future health risks. The ASA and CAP have yet to be provided with convincing evidence to support the efficacy of this diagnostic technique.

Which types of claims are likely to be problematic?

Any claims to detect or diagnose current or future health issues using iridology are likely to be a problem unless marketers hold a robust body of evidence.

In 2015 the ASA investigated claims on a clinic website which implied that the patterns of the iris could be examined in order to diagnose a number of medical conditions including "Allergies", “bloating” and “IBS”. In the absence of evidence from the marketer, the ASA concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.

In that investigation the ASA also concluded that the references to the diagnosis of serious medical conditions including “stroke, arthritis, asthma, gut ulceration and Chron's disease, circulatory problems” were likely to discourage essential medical treatment (12.2) (Sarah Burt, 21 October 2015).

Updated 7 September 2016

See also: Live Blood Analysis and Guidance on Health Therapies and Evidence QA (Sept 2011).


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