What Happens To Untreated Horner’s Syndrome & When To Go To Doctor?

Horner syndrome is a nervous system related problem. Here the nervous system of the face and eyes is unable to connect with the brain. Simply, it can be said that in Horner’s syndrome the pupil of one eye becomes small, the eyelids are molded and the facial skin also starts deforming due to lack of sweat on the face.(1)

Horner’s syndrome is a problem caused by stroke, tumor, or spinal cord injury. There is no exact cure for Horner’s syndrome. However, treatment can ease the symptoms and enable the patient to lead a normal life with Horner’s syndrome.

Horner’s syndrome is also called oculosympathetic palsy. It may take place to individuals of any age or race. It is easily visible on the eyes and face, which makes the disease easy to understand and diagnose.(2)

What Happens When Horner’s Syndrome Is Left Untreated?

Horner’s syndrome may cause complications if it is not treated timely or left untreated. It is important to understand the cause of Horner’s syndrome that can be more serious than Horner’s syndrome.

Attention must be paid to some serious symptoms of Horner syndrome. Contact your physician promptly when you suspect this syndrome. These severe symptoms include:

Other conditions may present symptoms similar to Horner syndrome.(3)

Common symptoms of Horner’s syndrome are:

  • The light color of iris in newborns.
  • Pupil shrinking. This condition is called miosis.
  • Sunburn in the face
  • The part of the face that is affected due to Horner’s syndrome reduces sweating.
  • Ptosis means bending of the eyelids

Symptoms may not be seen in some children but, they may suffer from this disease.(3)(4)

When Should You See A Doctor For Horner’s Syndrome?

If you feel the following problems, definitely meet the health expert or physician:

  • Dizziness
  • Having trouble in vision
  • Muscle weakness or poor muscle control
  • Sudden headache or neck pain

If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, contact a doctor. Also, any question or dilemma related to Horner’s syndrome must be asked to a doctor as everyone’s body reacts differently to Horner’s syndrome.(3)(4)

How Is Horner Syndrome Diagnosed?

Doctors perform a number of tests to detect Horner’s syndrome. On the basis of the symptoms, the doctor can treat you.(5)

Tests To Confirm Horner’s Syndrome

To detect Horner’s syndrome, doctors first check your medical history. Treatment of Horner’s syndrome requires the help of an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists first place an eye drop in your eye and try to open the pupil. After which they examine the eyes and compare your healthy eye with your affected eye. After this, they will try to know about the causes of nerve damage.(3)(5)

Tests To Detect Nerve Damage

Doctors test nerve damage based on symptoms. They put an eye drop in your eye and try to open the pupil. After which they examine the eyes by comparing your healthy eye with your affected eye. Then they learn about the abnormality in the third-order neuron that produces Horner’s syndrome.

Apart from these tests, some other tests are also done when required:

For children with Horner’s syndrome, doctors also perform blood and urine tests. This is to have the information about the possible tumor through the hormonal or nervous system tests.

How Is Horner’s Syndrome Treated?

There is no exact cure for Horner’s syndrome. Horner syndrome often disappears with treatment based on symptoms. It is essential to find the real cause behind Horner’s syndrome. Once the cause is finalized, effective treatment can be channeled. Usually, symptomatic relief is enough to treat the Horner’s syndrome.(3)

How Common Is Horner’s Syndrome?

It is very common to have Horner’s syndrome. It is found in women more than men. It can happen at any age to a person. When you start seeing symptoms in the eyes and face, contact your doctor for more information and for the right treatment.(2)


  1. Davagnanam I, Fraser C, Miszkiel K, Daniel C, Plant G. Adult Horner’s syndrome: a combined clinical, pharmacological, and imaging algorithm. Eye. 2013;27(3):291-298.
  2. Flores S, Riguzzi C, Herring AA, Nagdev A. Horner’s syndrome after superficial cervical plexus block. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2015;16(3):428.
  3. Khan Z, Bollu PC. Horner syndrome. StatPearls [Internet]: StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
  4. Mangat SS, Nayak H, Chandna A. Horner’s syndrome and sixth nerve paresis secondary to a petrous internal carotid artery aneurysm. Paper presented at: Seminars in ophthalmology2011.
  5. Pollard ZF, Greenberg MF, Bordenca M, Lange J. Atypical acquired pediatric Horner syndrome. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2010;128(7):937-940.

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