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What Is Horner’s Syndrome Baby?

Horner’s syndrome is a condition characterized by signs and symptoms arising from the disruption of the nerve pathway coming from the brain to the face and eye. It usually affects one side of the face. This condition develops in the baby due to injury to the neck or shoulders at the time of delivery, defects in the aorta since birth, or tumors in the hormonal and nervous systems and other unknown causes. Its symptoms in the baby involve light-colored iris in one of the eyes, lack of redness on one of the sides of the face aggravated from physical exertion, heat, or emotional exertions. It appears as a sign of medical ailments like a tumor, stroke, or injury to the spinal cord.

What Is Horner’s Syndrome Baby?

Horner’s syndrome is a medical condition in which one of the sides of the child’s face is affected. This condition appears as a result of injury to a nerve that supplies the involved side of the face. It may have developed in the baby during the birth process. It may indicate severe other conditions appearing in the baby, such as a stroke or aneurysm. It is often represented by a lack of perspiration on the affected side of the face of the baby.(1)

Horner’s syndrome develops in babies when second-order (preganglionic) neurons are involved. It happens due to injuries or the development of masses in the neck. It involves birth trauma, mediastinal masses, benign neck masses such as lymphadenopathy, and infectious masses like tuberculosis. It can also be caused by neuroblastoma (second common malignant solid tumor in children). The babies (before the age of 2 years) who develop Horner’s syndrome manifest following symptoms-

One iris which is the colored area around the pupil appearing lighter color than the other one.

  • Droopiness of the upper eyelid
  • Slightly raised appearance of the lower eyelid(2)
  • Small-sized pupil in one eye and improper dilatation of the pupil(1)
  • Sunken or bloodshot eye(2)
  • No or less sweating on the affected side or both the sides of the face, sometimes on the small area(1)
  • The affected side of the face does not show redness on hot days or even after playing(2)
  • Redness on the white portion of your child’s eye(1)

The diagnosis of this syndrome is made based on physical examination of the baby’s eyes and presenting signs and symptoms. The treating pediatrician will inquire beginning and aggravation time of the symptoms. Specific tests that are advised listed below-

Eye drops- eye drops are used to dilate the eyes. The affected pupil is larger than the unaffected pupil.

X-Ray, CT, or MRI Scan – these tests provide images to detect the cause of the nerve damage, which can be an injury or tumor. In some cases, the contrast liquid is given to have a clear picture. During the test, metal objects should be avoided as they may render serious harm to the child.(1)

Treatment of Horner syndrome is highly dependent on the cause. In most cases, if the cause of the condition is removed, signs and symptoms usually subside. The treatment involves the following-

  • An ophthalmologist is an eye specialist who will detect and treat vision-related problems. In Horner syndrome, the baby develops vision problems typically if the eyelid drooping (ptosis) is severe.
  • Occupational therapy often indicated if the child faces vision problems as a result of eyelid drooping—an occupational therapist work to strengthen the affected eye muscles of the baby.
  • Surgery or medication may be considered if severe eyelid drooping develops.(1)


Horner’s syndrome baby is a condition that develops in the baby due to congenital reasons, birth trauma, and other reasons mentioned above. It affects one side of the face. Its most common symptom involves nor or less sweating on one side of the face and ptosis (drooping of the eyelids).


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 2, 2020

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