Horner Syndrome Facts
Horner syndrome facts indicate that this disorder affects the eye and can have several causes. Horner syndrome is a very rare medical disorder that occurs when some specific nerves from the brain to the eye are damaged or compressed. In most cases, Horner syndrome effects occur on one side of the face. The typical features of Horner syndrome include drooping eyelid ptosis, decreased or pinpoint size of the pupil (the dark portion in the center of the eye). Besides the eye, Horner syndrome effects also include a decreased sensation and diminished sweating on the affected side of the face.
Even though Horner syndrome affects the eye, it is not a disease itself. Whenever Horner syndrome appears, one should suspect injury to certain brain nerves, a stroke, injury to the spinal cord or an accidental injury created during surgery. In a few cases, no cause is ever found. Once Horner syndrome affects the eye, there is no specific treatment. Instead, the management is geared towards finding the cause if possible.
In most cases, adults are affected with Horner syndrome but very rarely a newborn maybe have this syndrome. Even though Horner syndrome is not painful, it is important to see a doctor if you develop a droopy eyelid and have problems with your vision.
The major cause of Horner syndrome in North America is due to either a lung cancer or damage to the nerve during some type of lung surgery in the upper chest. Another very common cause of Horner syndrome today is surgery done for excess sweating. The specific nerves that are affected in Horner syndrome are the sympathetic nerve fibers. Other rare causes of Horner syndrome include stroke, spinal cord injury, Syringomyelia, migraines, trauma to the carotid artery in the neck area or injury during birth.
The diagnosis of Horner syndrome can be made by an astute physician on a physical exam. However, many radiological studies are done to determine the cause. A CT scan or an MRI of the brain, chest, and neck area is always obtained. If a cancer is suspected you will undergo a number of laboratory tests.
There is no specific treatment of Horner syndrome. If the condition was due to nerve damage during surgery, the condition may resolve after a few months. If the condition is due to a cancer then it may be permanent. In cases where no cause is ever found, spontaneous recovery is also possible.
Individuals who have drooping eyelid ptosis or those who have difficulty seeing out of the eye may need to see an eye doctor. Some people are prescribed drops to ensure that the eye does not get dry.
Knowing Horner syndrome facts will hopefully make the public about the disorder and seek early medical help.