The Pixel race
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                                 Digital Iris examination equipment

                                            (All about PIXELS)


This article is written by Leo Bongaards ND


Most readers of this article would know that the iris (and sclera) reveals most if not  ALL  regarding the physical and mental health of a person. Although there are still many  different  opinions  and  ways  of interpreting  the information, all do agree that the  better the image of the eye the more accurate the interpretation can be.


New graduates  looking  for  equipment  may  not  have  experienced all the types of equipment available and many have little practical experience.


Diagnosis and teaching  at  the college may have been done from slides and photographs and the use of a magnifier torch. The old pioneers of iridology used a magnifying glass and light to observe the markings and colouring of the iris as well until better equipment became available.


This equipment consisted of an iriscope with a lighting system (usually referred to as a slit lamp), similar to that  which is used by opthamoligists.This type of equipment is really the best equipment to use, as it allows one to see all the markings depth and colours in the iris and sclera.


The view is multi dimensional, because  the 2 eyes we have for sight are in different locations in our head.  The two slightly different images are put together in our brain to give us the ability to judge distances and see depth. So one can observe the depth of a radii solaris or nerve ring, or the ANW (Collarette) standing on edge like a flower, psoric spots on the surface and toxins interwoven into the fibers.


Ideally Students must be taught using this type of equipment before moving on to single dimension equipment like photographic images.


Just ponder this example: If one had an  eye  injury  and  one eye  had a patch over it, you would still be able to drive a car reasonably well, as the brain remembers how far away  you  are  from  the  car  in front from experience.


However  a  person born  with one working eye only sees  one dimension so  if  the  brain  never had the luxury of receiving stereo images no information is available to judge distances or see depth.


Looking at an iris image on the monitor screen provides you with the opportunity to see every fiber and colour clearly but you can not see depth, it is the experience gained by looking at eyes in stereo (three dimensional) (with the slitlight type microscope) that makes the correct  interpreting of the image possible. 


If you wonder why we don’t have stereo monitors, no one has been able to design one yet that did not need special glasses.


Maybe we will have 3D iris images by using special glasses soon  or one day  we may have holographic images as depicted in science fiction movies.


Practitioners that have worked with “slitlamp iriscopes”  with a camera attached have had the perfect training as they see the correlation between the stereo and flat image over and over again every day of the week with every patient they see. These practitioners are in the best position to diagnose from photographs and (single dimension) monitors. 


This brings us to digital iriscope imagery.


Camera manufactures are falling over them selves to out-do and under-price the competition. Digital cameras are becoming better and cheaper by the day, just as we reached the pinnacle of film based photography, the CCD  was invented.


This is a device that breaks up the image it 'sees' into a matrix of electronic dots. Imagine many chess boards put together  and  miniaturized to the size of one of  your little finger's nail. The  electronic  dots are  stored  into  a  memory  chip  consisting  of millions of on/off switches ( no film is required ).


Click here for more details on how the CCD works.


The latest domestic digital cameras may have a CCD with a number of image dots or pixels per photographs may exceed   14,000,000.


The higher the number of dots, the sharper the photo so even when enlarged, it is hard to see the dots at all, but if you put a magnifying glass over  a  photograph  or  your  TV or computer screen you can see "dots",  rectangular or square  blocks, clearly, on the screen they are in clusters of 3 (Triads)  to make full colour images possible. So every 3 dots, Red, Green, Blue, form one distinctly coloured Pixel or image “dot".


How many pixels do we need for a good image?

Well the more pixels the better the picture will be.

And the smaller the pixels the more may fit into a given space. 






TV images are produced by following a standard, which was agreed upon in the 1940’s, Technology has come a long way since then, however  the  system  has  not  been  changed  until now.  


Digital  TV transmissions  are now being introduced  and in 2013 all the old Analog transmissions will have been phased out.


The current USA TV screen can show only (720x480) 153,200 pixels (NTSC),

In Australia we have the  European PAL system, which has  215,500 pixels (768x576)




Only 0.2 Megapixels ?    


Yes !   Video and TV Screens have  less than ¼ Mp


Shock horror 


So why do we have a pixel race?


Your computer screen is a little better, but the LCD screen you are looking at right now is  only capable of showing between 0.7 –    1.3 MP.   The new High Definition Television (HDTV) has a resolution of 1920x1080 or 2 Mp.     When this HDTV system is universal  and in general use, the camera manufactures are expected to change the camera output to this system. Some cameras are already fitted with a HD output.

A 15" VGA screen (640x480) has a  0.3 Megapixel display. A SVGA (800x600) has around 0.5 million pixels.

The best 19" XVGA has 1024x768 pixels or 0.8Mp   

The latest 21' professional monitor has 1280x1024 pixels or 1.3Mp (SXGA)

A pixel or picture element, is composed of three sub-pixels in the primary colours of red, green, and blue. At each pixel position in an AMLCD  (active matrix liquid  crystal  display)  flat  screen  monitor, three cells of liquid crystal material form the red, green and blue sub pixels that together allow the full range of colours to be displayed.

Individual transistors are arranged in an array on the rear glass to control each sub- pixel. An anomaly  or  break-down  of any one of these individual transistors will cause a bright or dark pixel to appear. A standard LCD screen exhibits  less  then  8  non-performing  or  dead  pixels,  this  would equate to an extremely small 0.00026 percent of the total sub-pixel failure!

From the above example you can see  how good the LCD quality is nowadays.

So how do we fit up to 12.1 Million pixel images from a camera onto a  0.2 – 1 MP screen?  


One would expect to have to throw out lots of information…. and Yes that is true

I  have  seen images, made with an 14MP Camera that look absolutely shocking on screen..


So without making this article into a bookwork of technical formulas it comes down to this:


The system is only as good as the weakest link. So let us have a look at the CAMERA, PRINTER and MONITOR


* The camera is rated in Mega Pixels say from  3 to 12 MP,


* Domestic printers are rated in dots per inch 300x300 – 1200x1200, This equates to 2MP and for an 6x4 photo image.


* Monitors are now mostly rated in pixel size and may have names like XVGA, SVGA  The best 21' monitor on the domestic market today can  only display around 1.3 Mp and to display this number of pixels there needs to be, a capture card capable of capturing this amount of pixels, the best I have seen advertised so far is only capable of capturing 1.3 MP divide this number by 3 to arrive at the actual number of pixels shown. 


What is the logic of all this ?


I would say that  a good camera with 3 – 4 MP is very suitable. This allows you to print  6x4 pictures of excellent quality and  A4 size  in  good quality.     


There  wouldn’t  be  many  iridologists  that  would  want  to  print  each  eye  on  wall-poster  size paper.


Is it a fluke that EYERONEC came up with the package they now have  for sale ?


NO around  50 cameras and configurations  were  tested before a decision was made to use Canon Digital Cameras, the  top quality Canon photo printer and  Video Monitor, for instant viewing.    


Getting all the components to work together and all to fit into a carry case is an on-going challenge.  We still search the world over to make sure we can maintain the supply of suitable equipment.


If you have a computer and lots of time and a patient that is not in a hurry, you can with other company's iridology cameras, capture images, by taking the picture looking through a  tiny view finder, download the image by connecting a cable or taking the memory card out of the camera and run the software and finally view  it  on  a  computer monitor, which may have a slightly better resolution than a Video Monitor, but in my view the diagnosis would  be exactly the same as diagnosing from the Video monitor.


These systems do not allow for pre-viewing or live images so only AFTER you download the image can you see the actual photo. The flash often spoils the image as the bright light may reflect from shiny surfaces.


This problem only shows up AFTER you have taken the picture.


With the EyeRonec system   you  capture the image by viewing the live VIDEO image BEFORE you take the shot. It takes less than 20 seconds to have both images in storage.


You can than view the images on the large monitor or if you really want to use a computer,  download the images via  the USB  cable to the computer in digital  format with the full amount of Pixels for storage or manipulation or  to import the iris images into an Iris software package. 


Printed pictures will  always  be of better quality than the image on the monitor screen and they may  be stored in the patients file for later reference.


However if  you  store images on the computer you need lots of memory unless the image is reduced or compressed   (which  means  less  pixels !)  and  how  will  you  later compare stored  images  with  the new images, when  the  patient  presents again? Split screen? 


Yes  possible  with  special software, but  the  size would  then  not be much larger than your 6x4 photograph and certainly NOT as sharp!. Can you see the dilemma?




*Digital "Still" cameras with LIVE  Video output are the best camera to base an iriscope system on because it produces instant  (live) images on a large screen and the recorded image will look EXACTLY the same:  


Taking  the  picture  takes  no  more  than  10  seconds  per  iris………..


                    That is  IF YOU  CAN SEE THE IMAGE ON A LARGE SCREEN


And it  totally does away with fiddling with computers or trying to focus with a 1” mini screen or looking through a tiny view finder. Magnification  with  an  EyeRonec system to well over 200x is possible, instantly.