What is Horner Syndrome?
Horner Syndrome is a collection of symptoms that arise when the nerve pathway of the sympathetic nervous system gets disrupted.(1, 4) The function of the sympathetic nervous system is to control involuntary functions of the body like blood pressure, heart rate and perspiration. Horner Syndrome itself is not a medical condition, but is caused due to more serious illnesses like a stroke or tumor.(1, 2)
Horner Syndrome affects the face and eyes of the patient.(4) It is usually unilateral and affects only one side of the face.(3) The primary presenting symptom of Horner Syndrome is unequal size of the pupil on the affected size when compared to the unaffected side.(3)
There is also decreased sweat on the affected side due to Horner Syndrome, which is medically referred to as hypohidrosis.(3) In some cases, an injury to the spinal cord also results in symptoms that are seen with Horner Syndrome. This article highlights whether Horner Syndrome can go away.
Can Horner Syndrome Go Away?
In majority of the cases, the symptoms of Horner Syndrome go away when the underlying conditions causing it get treated.(2) However, it is mandatory to identify the underlying cause of Horner Syndrome to make it go away. For this the right diagnosis need to be made. There is no particular treatment for Horner Syndrome as such. The following treatment for the causative conditions of Horner Syndrome needs to be done to make it go away:
- In case if Horner Syndrome is caused by a malignant tumor, then surgery to remove the tumor is done followed by a course of radiation and chemotherapy and this make the Horner Syndrome go away.(4)
- Carotid artery dissection is yet another condition that causes Horner syndrome and to treat it antiplatelet or angioplasty are the treatment options available to get rid of Horner Syndrome.(5, 6)
- There are various treatment options available for stroke of which the primary treatment option is giving medications that dissolve clots.
- To get rid of symptoms of Horner Syndrome caused by bacterial or viral infections, treatment with antibiotics and antiviral medicines needs to be done.
- There have also been reports of multiple sclerosis patients experiencing symptoms of Horner Syndrome.(7) For such individuals aggressive treatment is required by potent anti-inflammatory drugs for Horner Syndrome to go away.
To summarize, Horner Syndrome occurs when the nerve pathway of the sympathetic nerve gets disrupted causing a variety of symptoms. Anisicoria or unequal pupil is the primary presenting feature of this condition along with lack of perspiration. Generally, the symptoms of Horner Syndrome go away when the underlying condition causing it gets treated. Thus it is vital to get the right diagnosis causing the symptoms so that correct and effective treatment can be given. For cases where spinal cord injury is responsible for symptoms of Horner Syndrome and if the symptoms come on immediately after the injury, then emergent treatment is required. This not only gets rid of the symptoms of Horner Syndrome, but also prevents any unwarranted complications.