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Is There A Surgery For Horner’s Syndrome & Is It A Disability?

Horner’s syndrome involves a combination of diverse signs and symptoms caused mainly due to the disruption of one’s nerve pathway towards the eye and face on a particular side of the body from his/her brain. These syndromes lead to a reduction in the patient’s pupil size, reduction in sweating from the affected side and drooping eyelid. In some of the cases, Horner’s syndrome takes place because of any other medical condition, like an injury in the spinal cord, tumor or stroke of a person.(1)

Is There A Surgery For Horner’s Syndrome?

Whether a patient needs to undergo cosmetic surgery to treat Horner’s syndrome depends solely on his or her affected location and the main cause of the tumor or lesion. If the formed lesion is creating other complications in patients, including difficulty in vision, doctors remove the lesion surgically. Moreover, to avoid further complications, the doctor may recommend two additional approaches i.e. chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which may benefit patients suffering from malignant tumors.(2)

Alternatively, your doctor may recommend for surgery if you suffer from ptosis i.e. drooping eyelid in its mild form. The reason for this is that ptosis may sometimes affect your vision. Positively, you may avoid vision problems because of drooping eyelids by proper surgical treatment.(3)

Other than this, your doctor may recommend surgery combined with or without radiation therapy if you experience any of the signs and symptoms related to Horner’s syndrome suddenly after a severe physical injury. These are as follows-

  • Dizziness
  • Impaired vision
  • Lack of enough muscle control or weakness in the muscle
  • A sudden and severe form of neck pain or headache.(4)

Is Horner’s Syndrome A Disability?

If any of your family members or you are suffering from Horner’s syndrome and because of it, you experience various other disorders/ complications that lead to disability, you may claim for disability benefits. In other words, Horner’s syndrome patients are eligible to get disability benefits only when its related symptoms or complications prevent them to do their regular work. With social security disability benefits, you and your loved one may get the necessary financial assistance to lead the daily life in a hassle-free way. To make the most from your social security disability benefit, you should make claims for disability-related to Horner’s syndrome with the help of a qualified and experienced disability lawyer.(5)

Symptoms Of Horner’s Syndrome

In most of the cases, Horner’s syndrome affects a particular side of your face, while it involves a few of the common signs and symptoms i.e.-

  • A persistent small size of a pupil referred to as miosis
  • A notable difference in the size of pupil between the patient’s two eyes i.e. anisocoria
  • Dilation i.e. delay or little opening of one’s affected pupil in the dim light
  • Ptosis i.e. drooping of one’s upper eyelid
  • Slight elevation of the patient’s lower lid referred to as an upside-down type of ptosis
  • Eyes with a sunken appearance
  • No or very less sweating i.e. anhidrosis either on a particular side of the face or an isolated skin patch on the affected area

Especially, anhidrosis and ptosis are the two symptoms, which doctors often find difficult to identify or diagnose.

Symptoms Of Horner’s Syndrome In Children

Along with the signs and symptoms related to Horner’s syndrome mentioned here, children with the syndrome experience a few other signs and symptoms, which include the following-

  • The light color of the iris in the child’s affected eye if he or she is below one year
  • Flushing i.e. lack of redness on the child’s face’s affected side, which often appears from physical exertion, heat, and other emotional reactions


To conclude, we should say that whether a patient of Horner’s syndrome needs surgery in combination with/without radiation and chemotherapy depending on his/her problem as well as underlying symptoms. However, a patient may claim for social security disability benefits only if his syndrome and the underlying symptoms forces him to stay away from regular work.


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 1, 2020

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