Windows of the Soul

An Interview With Iridologist Kristine Ashdown

By Karen Pereczes

As appeared in Pembrokeshire Life magazine. Copyright Karen Pereczes 2005.



Eyes have long been referred to as 'the windows of the soul', but few people are aware of literally how true this is. The ancient Greeks noted that eyes come in many colours. 'Iri' and 'Iris' come from the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. And 'ology' is a Greek word meaning 'study of'. Literally translated, iridology means 'the study of the colouration of the eye'.

Although the study of the eye is an ancient practise, modern iridology, as we know it today, is said to be the discovery of Dr. Ignatz von Peczely, a physician from Hungary, just over one hundred years ago.

It is told that, as a boy, he caught an owl in his garden. In the owl's efforts to escape, it broke one of its legs. As the struggle continued, Ignatz noticed a black line forming in the owl's eye. With careful nursing, the leg began to heal, and the black line began to disappear, leaving a white zigzagging line in its place.

Whatever truth the owl story holds, Peczely went on to both study and teach iridology, and was the first to develop an iris chart, the basis of which is still in use today. In Russia today, iridology is now part of orthodox medical school training.

Kristine Solbakken Ashdown is an iridologist and herbalist. Alongside her husband, acupuncturist Christian Ashdown, they run a clinic from their home in St. Florence in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where they have lived since 1997. Kristine, who is from Norway, originally came to Pembrokeshire for 'a couple of weeks holiday'. Seventeen years later, she is still here!

"Iridology is NOT a diagnostic tool!" Kristine emphasises. "I can observe things about an individual's state of health that they are not necessarily conscious of themselves, but it will not show or name a specific disease. It is useful to me as it helps me make important choices regarding dietary advice and prescribing specific herbs for whatever condition they may already have."

With my facts straight, I seat myself comfortably in the cosy consultation room, surrounded by shelves containing large bottles of herbal medicine. 

During a consultation, Kristine uses a torch and 'loupe', (which magnifies the eye six times), to observe the differences in colour, shape and size of the eye.

"I start by looking at the shape of the pupil (the central part of the eye) as, although it should be, it's not always round," Kristine explains. "From there I go on to observe the colours in the iris in detail."

The first consultation usually takes about an hour during which Kristine will take a full case history, paying attention to any specific health problems and requirements. Follow up consultations usually take around half an hour, when fine-tuning takes place. How the treatment is progressing will then be discussed and reviewed, as well as what the next stages of treatment may be.

Accurate analysis of iris structure and colouration can provide information that is hard to find by other methods. This information is valuable for preventing illness as it has the ability to forewarn of approaching difficulties or possible signs of disease, often years before any symptoms become apparent.

Many illnesses occur because of an imbalance within the body and, although iridology can help locate these root causes, it will not identify specific illnesses.  It cannot locate gallstones, parasites or germs, but will indicate the presence of inflammation and toxicity, which are a refuge for their development. Neither will it show pregnancy, as it is a healthy function of the female body.

Iridology is a powerful tool that reveals how well your body functions. It can point out strengths and weaknesses as well as how much abuse your body can handle. It can also reveal a lot about your personality but, (good news, folks!), you cannot tell a person's age from the eye.

Every organ and every part of the body is represented in the iris in a well-defined area, which is set out on a chart. Various marks and discolouration in specific places on the iris indicate what constitution, or type, a person is. The basic colour of your eyes can primarily indicate the following:

People who have blue eyes with blue-white or blue-grey backgrounds may have to pay attention to the lungs, sinuses, digestive tract, kidneys, lymphatic tissues (tonsils, appendix, spleen and lymph nodes) and membranes of the joints. These people may also find themselves dealing with a lot of mucous or catarrh.

"European people with brown eyes are only brown at a distance," Kristine says. "When you take a closer look, you can see that it is just a layer or section of the eye that's brown on top of a blue background." These people are what are known as a 'mixed-eye' type. They may have to watch out for liver and digestive related problems and allergies.

True brown-eyed people may need to pay attention to the circulatory system (heart, blood and blood vessels), the organs that make the blood (liver, spleen and bone marrow), the digestive system and endocrine glands.

"When I started the clinic, I bought a digital camera so I could take a picture of the eye and that way have more time to compare and study it. I have not found that method as accurate as using the traditional loupe and torch.

"Iridology is very intuitive," explained Kristine. "It is completely different to look into an eye that is looking back at me, rather than at a picture I have taken. There are specific signs which I am looking for that can be very subtle, but in a photograph these can be distorted and exaggerated. It is more useful as a study tool - to become familiar with the signs. It's also useful to show someone what their own eye looks like."

Indeed, when I see my own eyes magnified on the computer screen, I am fascinated by the variations of colours, lines and shapes that are clearly visible. Both eyes clearly show different markings.

"Interestingly, the left eye shows markings that you have genetically inherited from your mother's side of the family, and the right eye from your father's side," says Kristine. "Both eyes are often quite different and show different signs."

 Looking even closer at the iris (the coloured part surrounding the pupil) you will see a complex pattern of colours, textures and markings totally unique to that person.

"No two eyes are alike. They're as individual as snowflakes," says Kristine. The iris structure is, in fact, so unique that it is now being used throughout the world for security identification. 

"I first became aware of looking into people's eyes when my daughter, Rowan, was ten weeks old," Kris continues, "She is now four. During that time I have seen her eyes change so much, but they have stopped changing in the past year."

A person's eyes will not normally change, unless they have been on medication or drugs - you can see murky colours appear that would not have been there previously. These are called 'acquired signs' as you acquire them over a lifetime of abuse. Another example of an acquired sign is called a 'Cholesterol or Sodium Ring' - a white cloudy ring around the iris, which you often see in older people. Favourable changes in the form of 'healing lines' are also recorded in the iris.

An unhealthy lifestyle of improper nutrition and lack of exercise weakens the body until, eventually, it is unable to heal itself - becoming vulnerable to illnesses of a more chronic nature. Therefore, exercise, nutrition and iridology are inseparable in the pursuit of a healthy way of life.

Combining iridology and herbalism, Kristine aims to treat the patient as a whole person, not just a collection of symptoms. Herbs are used safely and effectively in treating a wide range of conditions, helping to improve the standard of health and restoring a balance within the body of the individual.

In the near future, Kristine and Christian would like to combine their knowledge and healing skills to run integrated weekend workshops.

My visit to Kristine certainly was an eye-opener (excuse the pun!). Before I leave, I cannot resist asking if people who know she is an iridologist deliberately avoid her gaze...

"Oh, yes!" is the emphatic reply.


Further information -

Kristine Ashdown is available for consultation. Contact: