Horner’s Syndrome

What is Horner’s Syndrome?

Horner’s syndrome is a medical condition that is considered rare and basically affects a person’s eye and face, specifically the person’s nervous system. It is considered as a syndrome for it includes several or a collection of symptoms. The condition is characterized by the sinking of one’s eyeballs into the orbital cavity and anisocoria (unequal size of pupils). Horner’s syndrome is also referred as Bernard-Horner syndrome and oculosympathetic palsy. The condition is named or coined after the person who first described the disease, Dr. Johann Friedrich Horner. Horner’s syndrome would then indicate for an underlying problem of the sympathetic nervous system. According to some statistical reports, the condition is commonly found in men than in women. The male-to-female ratio is 5:1 according to studies. This condition does not choose people specifically their age, but it has been found equally distributed in the general population of all age group.


The condition, again considered rare, can be diagnosed through several tests. The tests would include:

Cocaine drop test

This is done by using cocaine eyedrops. The eyedrops can take effect by dilating the patient’s pupils. As the patient is left to no dilation of one of the pupils, application of the eyedrops can help confirm for the presence of the disease process. When the patient reacts from the instilled medication after several minutes (pupils dilate for more than 0.8 mm) then it would suggest for Horner’s syndrome.

Paredrine test

The test includes the use of amphetamine to cause for dilation of the pupils. When instillation of the solution has no effect on the pupils, it indicates that Horner’s syndrome is present.

Neurological examination

This is necessary to identify areas of the which part of human system is affected of the condition. Significantly, cranial nerve III is affected for to cause Horner’s syndrome.

Imaging tests

MRI, CT scan and X-ray can also assist in the diagnosis of this condition.

Horner’s Syndrome Symptoms

The person affected of this condition can present the following symptoms in general:

  • Ptosis – medical term for drooping of the eyelid/s.
  • Miosis – medical terminology for increased constriction of the pupils. A particular eye is affected.
  • The affected side of the face will have a decrease in sweating or medically known as anhidrosis.
  • Sinking of the eyeballs into the face or the orbital area.
  • Reddish conjunctiva or also referred as bloodshot conjunctiva.
  • Swelling of the lower eyelid may be noted.
  • Decreased tear production on the affected eye.
  • Rarely causes heterochromia, different eye or iris colors.

Horner’s Syndrome Causes

The condition is caused primarily by the interruption and destruction of the nerve fibers pathway that run from the hypothalamus (part of the brain stem) to the face. This explains why the face is greatly affected by this condition. Other predisposing factors and conditions cause for this condition to occur:


  • Lesion or injury to the cervical chain, which can affect a specific side of a person’s body.
  • Trauma to the neck. Severe whiplash can cause for this condition, too.
  • Infection – can be referring to middle ear infections
  • Tumor found on top of the lung. Lung cancer is also found connected with this condition. This is believed as one of the common causes of Horner’s syndrome. About 35% of cases with Horner’s syndrome are caused by tumors affecting the lungs and thyroid.
  • Migraine or headaches that can be in a form of clusters.
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular accident. Aneurysm is also believed to cause this condition. Vascular problems are also commonly pointed out as a root of this condition.

The condition can be differentially identified by the pathway of affectation. The condition is accordingly caused by the following:

  • First neuron – There is an occlusion of the arterial passage at the postero-inferior area of the brain stem, thus resulting to the occlusion and interruption of the blood supply to one’s brain.
  • Second neuron – This is primarily caused by tumors. This includes lung tumors, thoracic tumors, thyroid tumors, and neck trauma or injury.
  • Third neuron – The upper neck is affected. Ear infections and viral agents (Herpes zoster) may have caused the condition.

Other precipitating factors for this condition includes taking of drugs such as those with effects similar to Horner’s syndrome. Common drugs found are diacetylmorphine, levodopa, methotrimeprazine, prilocaine, procaine, and reserpine. These drugs are widely used and can have similar effects as the presentation of Horner’s syndrome.

Horner’s Syndrome Treatment

Specific treatment for this condition is entirely aimed in the avoidance of complications. There is no direct treatment for the condition but it is rooted to treat the presenting symptoms. The etiological history of the patient would assist us in the treatment of Horner’s syndrome.

As the etiology of the condition has been found or identified, treatment is aimed to correct that. If the pathology includes, stroke or aneurysm, correction is done by surgical intervention. When certain drugs have caused for the symptoms of the condition, we need to consult our doctor and report for the unusuality. Avoid neck injury, so to avoid the hazards of acquiring Horner’s syndrome. Have or practice a healthy diet and lifestyle. By this we can avoid the predisposing factors of the disease condition. As these are done, good prognosis can be attained by a person affected because early or abrupt treatment has been provided. It is important that a person would consult his or her ophthalmologist as the symptoms have been identified.

Horner’s Syndrome Pictures

Photos, Images and Pictures of Horner’s Syndrome…

horners syndrome picturesHorner’s Syndrome Pictures

source: eyeplastics.com

horners syndrome picturesHorner’s Syndrome Photos

source: mrcophth.com

horners syndrome picturesHorner’s Syndrome Images

source: mrcophth.com

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