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How Common Is Horner’s Syndrome Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Horner’s syndrome constitutes a combination of various signs and symptoms, which take place because of the nerve pathway’s disruption towards the face and eyes of one’s body size from his/her brain.(1)

How Common Is Horner’s Syndrome Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Based on the definition of the disease itself it is clear that Horner’s syndrome is one of the rare conditions, which characterize miosis i.e. constriction of the patient’s eye pupil, ptosis i.e. upper eyelid drooping and anhidrosis i.e. the absence of sweat from the face (indeed the affected area). The problem mainly takes place because of certain damages caused to the face’s sympathetic nerves. However, as the disease is rare, its underlying causes vary highly.

In some of the cases, the disease includes stroke, tumor, underlying disease or physical injury, which affects the areas nearby the sympathetic nerves. In contrast, in rare cases, Horner’s syndrome becomes congenital i.e. remains present from the birth itself. Besides, the syndrome is associated with lacking the iris’ pigmentation i.e. the eye’s colored part.(3)

Whether horner’s syndrome is rare or common is based on whether it is acquired or congenital.

Congenital type of Horner’s Syndrome: If we talk about the congenital type of Horner’s syndrome, it remains present during the birth of a person and that too in a relatively less percentage of the overall population. In most cases, the syndrome takes place due to a specific type of birth injury or trauma to the carotid artery or nerves at the time of delivery. Furthermore, the problem may take place from a neuroblastoma tumor. On the other side, the syndrome is inherited in rare case but until now, doctors have not found any specific gene related to the link. If your child experiences Horner’s syndrome before his/her 2yeras, his/her affect iris may become light in color.

Acquired Type Of Horner’s Syndrome: There are large numbers of underlying conditions, which may lead to Horner’s syndrome. Disorders may affect the chest, lungs or neck of an individual. Along with this, disruption caused in the supply of blood towards the brain may lead to multiple symptoms. A few of the conditions, which may trigger Horner’s syndrome, are

  • Trauma to the head or neck
  • Tumor at the top area of your lungs
  • Infections in their severe forms
  • Lungs cancer
  • Tumor in the thyroid
  • Cluster headaches or migraines
  • Cerebro-vascular problem i.e. interruption in the flow of blood towards the brain because of the aneurysm, stroke, and clotting of blood i.e. embolism
  • Both benign/noncancerous and cancerous/malignant type of tumor or lesion present on one’s cervical nerves on a particular side of the body

However, regardless of the aforementioned conditions, they may rarely cause Horner’s syndrome to individuals.(4)

Horner’s Syndrome Rarely Run In Families: Other than Horner’s syndrome is rare, the disease rarely run in children or families i.e. the syndromes are not of inherited types. However, if Horner’s syndrome takes place because of dominant genetic mutation, it may pass down in families or children but still is an extremely rare and congenital disease. Accordingly, in 50% cases only, any kid born to someone with the syndrome experiences the respective symptoms.(5)

Symptoms Of Horner’s Syndrome

Common symptoms associated with Horner’s syndrome in individuals include the following-

  • Reduction in sweating on your affected side on your face
  • Ptosis i.e. the problem of drooping eyelids
  • The sinking of eyeballs within the face
  • Variation in the size of the eye’s pupils i.e. the problem of anisocoria.(2)


Horner’s syndrome is a rare type of syndrome that takes place in individuals i.e., adults and children.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 2, 2020

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