Iridology and Constitution

We perceive a constitutional iris by its defined shade of color to the degree of its primary shade that is characteristic for that specific constitutional type. Constitution is the whole of an individuals inherited and acquired characteristics. It represents the reactive capacity of an individual in establishing the capability for adaptation.   

Constitutions are genotypic and expose specific kinds of pathological processes that may occur in an individual. There is no implication that a specific disease is inherited but only the individual factors that compose a predisposition are inherited.

Constitutional types are perpetually mixed and may be diverse. Subtypes are inborn and exclusively modified through life. Such modifications include certain environmental influences and external factors during the course of life acting on the person including their reactions to such conditions (career, stress, trauma, domestic, nutrition, etc).    

The strength of an individual's constitution is proportional to the integrity of the iris fibrous trabeculae network. Fibrous integrity is a measure of anatomic strength in an individual to counteract negative external influences. The greater density found in the iris shows a higher resistance the body has towards such external influences. A diathesis exposes a genetic pathological condition that is conditioned by the constitution representing a sensitivity and susceptibility to illness. A physiological disease marking represents a diathesis and is expressed by the phenomena of deposition.    

The three main categories (Lymphatic, Haemotogenic and Biliary/Mixed) are furthermore divided into "sub-types" in order to include commonly observed variations in behavior. Please observe that certain pathological processes are not entirely limited to only one type of constitution and that any one type of constitution only demonstrates statistical and theoretical disadvantages toward particular disorders. Constitution gives us a picture of the overall strength in the body.

People with a strong constitution tend not to have as many illnesses, and when they do, they seem to recover quite quickly. These are the type of people that usually grow up abusing their health because they can get away with it without no ill consequences. They also tend to be less receptive to someone with a weaker constitution thus showing little consideration to their needs. It is good to note that someone with a very good constitution can only burn the candle for so long.

Those with a weaker constitution have a greater amount of inherent weaknesses in their body. They need to take extra care of their body more than someone with an inherited strong constitution to stay well. They are more sensitive to foods, environment, stress and tend to take longer to recover from illnesses that occur more frequently than someone with a strong constitution.

Iris Constitution according to Joseph Deck

(several sub-classifications of constitutions are not listed)


Lymphatic is the blue eye due to lack of melanin pigment. This type of constitution have tendency toward excess mucous production with discharges focusing in the respiratory, alimentary, and urogenital tracts. Often found in these types are overactive immune system and allergies, over acidity, and lymphatic congestion with a tendency towards arthritic, rheumatic, ezcematic, and psoriatic conditions.

Billiary/Mixed Brown

Seen as a light brown pigment with overlaying visible white/yellowish fibers. Tendency often associated with liver, gallbladder, and associated digestive disturbances often aggravated by dietary disorders.

Hematogenic/True Brown

Seen as a brown pigment "carpet" obscuring iris and fibers. Tendency often associated with blood composition, liver, gastrointestinal, and glandular disturbances.

Neurogenic Sensitive or Neurolymphatic Constitution


Lymphatic constitutional sub-type distinguished by delicately arranged iris stroma with bright white blood and lymph region. Thin, tight, uniform and stretched trabeculae are distinct from the characteristic wavy pattern of the pure lymphatic type. Fiber density is exceptional showing good resistance.

It is possible to experience rarefaction in the lung-pleura-rib and the uro-genital areas. Iris sectors corresponding to the pleura, genitals and bladder also frequently show combed hair-like formed bundles. The "combed hair" appearance (Maubach) affirms a constitutional weakness in those sectors of the body. One must then examine for reflexive signs such as vascularizations and transversals in these areas. Not characteristic but may occur in this type: small or wide pupils, neurasthenic rings, solar rays, dark skin margin, dark kidney field, circular contraction furrows, light blood and lymph region, transitional forms shading into the lymphatic constitution.

Inclination and predisposition

Sensitivity of central and autonomic nervous systems with inclination toward nervous disposition and other anatomic organ disorders due to autonomic dysfunction.  

Afflictions of this constitutional type are produced by a highly sensitive nervous system which under stress, can fall target to critical problems such as neuralgias, nervous breakdown, exhaustion, neuritis, trembling, nerve pains, multiple sclerosis, poliomyelitis, Parkinson's disease and chorea. The formation of blood is weak resulting in mineral deficiencies. Physical dispositions include diabetes, liver-kidney disorders, pneumonia, diarrhea, vicarious bleeding, and various inflammations. Subject to headaches, migraine due to vascular spasm, vascular weakness, vascular crisis with particular risk for cerebral vessels (strokes), nervous hypersensitivity, exhaustion, irritability and general weakness of the central nervous system. Inclination towards skin eruptions (herpes, shingles) correlated with the nervous system. Frequency and severity of symptoms diversify according to the degree of resilience.

The pupil border should be examined and any pupillary deformations noted in relation to cerebral circulatory risk, spinal subluxations, nerve root obstruction, and possible psychological disadvantage. If pupil deformation is observed, psychosis may occur. Manic – depressive mood swings are potential in this type. Immoderate bodily, mental or emotional stress can deteriorate the patient into an over-burdened nervous system. This can influence multiple functional disorders of vital organs such as the stomach, intestine, heart, circulation, thyroid gland, endocrine organs, etc.  

Usually thin reactive types that are easily distracted and forgetful. These patients are remarkably sensitive to outside feedback, which can produce an internal uneasiness.  

Hydrogenoid - Hydrogenic Constitution


Lymphatic sub-type constitution characterized by condensed, rounded, well-defined, less converging, white to off-white tophi, with beginnings of pigmentation. These bundles of connective tissue stroma are called tophi. Tophi are also mentioned as the lymphatic rosary but does not fundamentally mean that the lymph system is stagnant. It primarily points to a propensity to this condition.

Tophi are connective tissue bundles detected in the outer ciliary zone. They range in appearances from clear to poorly defined and white to yellow-brown in color. They frequently emerge in the mucous membrane zones of the lung, breast, neck, groin, diaphragm, sinus and nasal areas. Discolored tophi (yellow/ brown toxic inclusions) with unclear borders suggest a strong inclination to chronic lymphatic congestion.

Lacunae and defect signs in the respiratory tract may indicate various inherent disease backgrounds such as allergies and rheumatoid arthritis in the family history. A predominance of ancestral tuberculosis may be present if tophi are distinct in the lung-pleura-rib reaction field. Observe for tophi in the outer areas of the iris, nasally and temporally.  

The hydrogenoid subtype is most commonly seen in the lymphatic eyes although it can be occasionally present in mixed biliary type. In this occurrence, digestive errors are the major cause of lymphatic congestion.

Inclination and Predisposition

A medium to strong rheumatic inclination with acute rheumatic illnesses invading the joints is indicated. A disposition to catarrh with an exhudative diathesis exists.

This classification exhibits either latent or active antigen-antibody reaction (allergy). The immune system is alert at all times. The appearance of endogenous substances (cellular waste, metabolized exhudates) will keep the immune system attentive though not inevitably active. Exogenous substances (foods, pollens, dust, etc.) can irritate this type with exhudative responses including eczema, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, arthritis, bronchitis and rhinitis.

Predispositions include faulty elimination, lymph stagnation, metabolic waste accumulation in the kidneys, lymph and intestines although dormant until other target sites become congested from toxins and irritate surrounding tissue. There is a tendency to retain fluids. In detecting sluggish target sites and drainage points, observe for typical texture and shading iris signs.  

Tendency towards rheumatic distress most notably in colder weather. More frequently colds, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, and reactions to dampness may occur in this type. This type never seems to be totally free of complaints although symptom occurrence increases dramatically when tophi are distinct and discolored.

Disease pathology may arise from inadequate lymphatic drainage, poor resistance, inadequate kidney detoxification, toxically influenced and functionally diminished mucous membranes, weak digestion, difficult protein assimilation. Dysbiosis may also be present.

Particular physical dispositions involve swollen lymph glands, rhinitis, runny or stuffed nose, food allergies, allergic asthma, coughing up phlegm, wheezing, eczema, skin rashes, weather related rheumatism, cold hands and feet, easily chilled, soft tumors.

Vegetative Spastic Pathological Constitution

"Larvate Tetanic Sub-Type"


This type may also be identified in the lymphatic diathesis or haemotogenic/mixed iris dyscratic diathesis.

These formations are primarily found in the upper and lower lateral quadrants. These radial fold formations have been named congestion furrows, aberrant radial furrows and parchment rolls. Additionally there are also circular fold formations specifically found nasally which appear as light rings set into pigmentation. These circular formations are often described as "cramp rings" but also known as circular contraction furrows (Schnabel, stress rings (Jensen) and nerve rings (Jensen).  The Vegetative-Spastic Constitution (Schimmel) is considered a pathological constitution and has a tendency to display the similar phenomena as the (Deck) Anxiety Tetanic Diathesis.     

Predominantly dyscratic iris with radial fold formations spreading outwards from the frill extending as far as the iris edge with others partly only to the center of the ciliary area. Numerous bright or dark Contraction furrows spread throughout the iris indicate this diathesis. Lighter rings show as a more acute nature than with dark rings displaying more chronic manifestations. Partial or total arcus senilis may also be apparent.  

Both phenomena occur mostly together in that radial folds will often break the circular folds. The circular folds can appear in different variations as listed:


Centrally parallel to pupil and edge of iris

Short ring segments

Large ring segments

Respective rings parallel to one another

Respective rings, sometimes overlapping

These contraction furrows are theorized that a buckling of the traberculae in the ciliary zone produces them. This reaction is created by perpetuated contraction of the dilator muscle characterizing abnormal tension in the sympathetic nervous system (hypertonia).

Josef Deck had classified this sub-type under the Haematogenic mixed category as he has found this phenomena in 90% brown eyes compared to 10% blue eyes (Lymphatic). Current research has found this percentage inaccurate as lifestyle changes have changed dramatically in the past 50 years.

Breaks found in contraction furrows can serve as a sign for the chiropractor as they are focal points for neuromuscular activity. Broken areas found in an iris section may correspond to specific organs or muscle zone being influenced by irritation and/or spinal subluxation.   

Inclination and Predisposition

Three or more circular furrows may appear broken revealing spasmodic tendencies and potential spinal subluxations due to elevated neuromuscular tension.

May display nervous tension with psychosomatic tendencies including increased neuromuscular activity.

Contraction furrows have a tendency to increase the intensity of other latent signs and dispositions.

Inclinations to diseases such as peripheral circulatory disturbances, dysthyroidism, parathyroidism, vertigo, arrhythmia's, angina pectoris, gallbladder, renal or ureteral colic, pelvic congestion, tachycardia, headaches, apnoea, laryngeal spasm, jaw clenching, palpitations, epilepsy and heart stress. Vegetative-spastic disorders with spastic diathesis, peripheral circulatory disorders, and dysmenorrhoea with pelvic congestion and backache. The tendency towards headaches, migraine and gastro-intestinal spasms are predominant in this type. Spastic conditions disturbing circulatory disorders and blood sugar metabolism errors.

Gastrointestinal disorders such as nervous stomach, intestinal spasms, colitis and ulcers.

Neuromuscular stress such as tense muscles, Frequent stiffness in arms and legs, pains in hands and lower legs, bloatedness, general muscle pain, nervous pain, migraine, persistent headaches, itching, feeling of coldness may be presented in this type.  Tendencies towards sensory disturbances such as hypersensitivity to noise and light and occasionally sense of smell with difficulty in breathing.

This classification thrives off stress and may portray Psychological manifestations such as compulsive weeping, agoraphobia, depression, mood swings, hysteria, impatiently, abdominal complaints, excessive emotions, excitability and other anxiety type behaviors.  

Tendencies towards the use of artificial stimulants to compensate in declining energy reserve. Often highly ambitious, motivated and highly diversified.

Deck emphasized the relation of inherent hypocalcemia and hypoparathyroid in the anxiety subtype. Neuromuscular irritability increases in proportion to the degree of hypocalcemia.   

People with this constitution generally have a greater need for calcium, magnesium and vitamin B complex, a deficiency of which may make the mentioned inclinations inferior. The general vegetative-spastic diathesis has a lessened mental-emotional and physical capacity for stress as a consequence. These patients are quickly exhausted. Adequate rest and relaxation is essential. Eliminate all artificial stimulants including foods high in sugar. Exercise is vital to release a buildup of muscular tension. Stress reduction such as meditation, quietness, and stillness.

Weak Connective Tissue type  - Mesenchymal Pathological Constitution


Lymphatic type characteristics showing a blue tone and displays profuse abundantly woven increased stroma with large open weakness signs. Occurs predominantly in the blue although frequently in all primary constitutions. Constitutional mesenchymal weakness with pathogenic result is attributable to genetically inferior connective tissue.

Inclination and Predisposition

This iris phenomena can be seen in irides of any color, however it appears to be more regularly found in blue irides and categorized as a sub-group of the lymphatic constitution described by Josef Deck.

The iris consists of connective tissue and includes all networks of communication in the body which also comprises of blood vessels, Lymphatics, vascular and neural networks. Connective tissue is not only a support system but also acts as a transport route between the capillaries and the organ cells. If the connective tissue is insufficient then interaction within the body is inadequate. Every human cell is directly or indirectly contingent on the function of the connective tissue.  

Inborn weakness of the connective tissue, weakness of the ligaments and tendons with tendency to ptosis, uterine prolapse, weakness of the arterial walls and inclination towards varicose veins, hemorrhoids and phlebitis. Weakness of the entire connective tissue support system, even in the parenchymatous organs. Genetic weakness in this constitution causes difficulty in all organs and organ systems. Immune system response can be defective in this type.  

Connective tissue weakness can result in a gradual accumulation of waste via the kidneys and connective tissues. Connective tissue weaknesses will influence the falling of organs such as the alimentary tract and lower abdominal organs (prolapse). Hernias and varicose veins are frequently present because there is an insufficiency of support for metabolic functions of the organs. Inclination to structural problems includes the knees and ankles with a tendency towards buckling. Spinal symptoms frequently exist. Minerals do not hold efficiently in the body, especially calcium and magnesium.

Specific physical characteristics include a disposition towards connective and elastic tissue weakness. These can include varicosities, prolapsus of organs, fracture, ptosis (particularly abdominal), uro-genital, spinal anomalies (subluxations), hemorrhoids, scoliosis, and postural difficulties. Only during infancy through to finished growth development can one successfully carry out constitutional treatment in this type.

Genetic weakness in other organs with acquired weaknesses is especially serious in these individuals because the providing of oxygen and nutrients with the removal of waste products becomes inadequate.  

Lipaemic Pathological Diathesis


This particular constitution does not exist as a distinctly defined constitution, since it can also be a diathesis. It is a cornea sign and not an iris sign. The cornea has an opaque circular band or an arc over the iris which can also be seen partially, although more notably in the external or cranial zones of the iris.  

Theorized to be a combination of fatty degeneration of the corneal cells with calcium deposits indicating a genetically determined disease of metabolism. Due to the aqueous humor, the iris is a very sensitive tissue that indicates a regulated metabolism. An emergence of organic disease due to endogenous cholesterosis and coronary sclerosis become more apparent with age. The correlation with sodium imbalance has been discounted by many clinical studies.

Inclination and Predisposition

Fifty percent of individuals with a corneal arcus have high cholesterol. A ratio of 2 to 1 disadvantage towards atherosclerosis and related diseases is predominant in persons who show this phenomena.

Chiefly found in people between ages of 30 plus and indicates a serious potential for stroke. It is a typical aging sign when seen in later life. It has also been established as a genetic sign. Due to a genetic endogenous disposition, one may even see the arcus phenomena in individuals that are vegetarians.  

In coronary sclerosis we may see fine radial irritation marks in the heart zone of the iris. A black rim becomes visible encircling the whole circumference of the iris next to the sclera when respiration becomes impaired.   

The arcus indicates that there is a tendency towards raised blood lipids producing premature fatty deterioration of cells in organs and systems such as heart, liver, skin, vessels, premature arteriosclerosis, etc.

Specific physical dispositions include: weak connective tissue, arteriosclerosis, high lipid count, angina pectoris, heart weakness, influenzal infections, stroke, peripheral circulatory problems, vascular necrosis, venous thrombosis and ulceration's, poor digestion and absorption of fats, liver congestion and sluggishness, metabolic disorders of the liver, bile ducts, and pancreas.  When an inferior Arcus emerges in the lower position of the iris then the femoral, iliac and distal (hip, thigh and leg) arteries are being obstructed by plaque material. By the time the opacity appears the patient may be suffering complaints of the lower extremity related inadequate circulation.

When a superior Arcus emerges in the upper portion of the iris then the vessels that supply the cranium are indicated. If the arcus emerges on the medial or temporal side, the vascular supply to the main body of organs especially heart and lungs are considered.


Corneal Arcus indicates a chemical imbalance, liver dysfunction and disturbed fat or glucose metabolism. A yellow lipid deposit in the sclera shows further evidence of a disturbed fat metabolism and indicates high cholesterol or excess blood fats.  

Cardio Abdominal Syndrome


Cardio Abdominal Syndrome is a sub-division of the Weak Connective Type. This type is also referred to as Roemheld Syndrome after Dr. Ludwig Von Rhoemheld.  

This syndrome is distinguished by a large lacuna in the heart region with or without defect markings. The left colon is remarkably illustrated by lacunae as an abdominal marking for organ weakness. Defect markings can be found within or without the colon area. Substantial distention of the collarette will exist in the splenic flexure or descending colon section. This is an inherent weakness with formation and congestion of gas.

This syndrome demonstrates a cardiac risk based upon mechanical pressure from the superior displacement of the large intestines. A local distention of the collarette reveals colonic deficiency, weak tonus tendencies toward prolapsus or displacement. The colon can also be the central point in serious disturbances of bacterial flora imbalance and toxic accumulations. The heart lacuna is a genotypic sign with a prognosis of functional weakness under accumulated stress and circulatory disturbance.

Inclination and Predisposition

Dysentry and its various forms, abdominal distention, weak connective tissue, flatulence, heartburn, constricting in chest, anxiety or agitation felt in chest, sensation of pulse in throat, cardiac dyspnea and faintness.  

Pancreatic Syndrome


The Pancreatic Syndrome is a sub-division of the weak connective tissue type. Dispersed and loose radial fibers indicate weak connective tissue. Iris exhibits honeycombs and lacunae in pancreatic sector and in the pulmonary bronchial zone. This syndrome indicates hereditary weakness of both pancreas and bronchi.  

Tonsil hyperplasia can be found in this syndrome. Bronchial weakness in infancy is primarily heredity and frequently linked with pancreas fibrosis. This phenomenon can be detected in young children and exhibit diseases such as measles, whooping cough and recurrent infections that can lead to bronchi-pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis and other lung/bronchi alterations.

More on Constitutional Types & Subtypes

More Information on 34 Constitutional Types Sub-Types and constitutional therapy can be obtained from obtaining the ebook "Constitutional Classification Via the Eye" by Bryan K. Marcia, Ph.D.