About Horner Syndrome
Horner Syndrome refers to a medical condition which results in a variety of symptoms due to abnormality in the nerve pathway which connects the brain to the face and eyes. The symptoms of Horner Syndrome are unilateral. An individual with this condition tends to have a small sized pupil with droopiness of the eyelid, and hypohidrosis or decreased sweat around the facial region.
Horner Syndrome normally occurs as a result of certain medical conditions like stroke or cancer. An injury to the spinal column also is one of the reasons for Horner Syndrome. As of treatment, there is no specificity with regard to this but treating the underlying cause often relieves the symptoms of this condition.
The nerve pathway that gets disrupted in Horner Syndrome belongs to the sympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system controls the pupil size, heart rate, sweating, and other body systems that require immediate alterations whenever there is a change in the environment the individual is in.
It is important to know the signs of Horner Syndrome so that proper treatment can be rendered to prevent any unwarranted complications.
What are Classic Signs of Horner Syndrome?
As stated, Horner Syndrome is generally unilateral and affects only one side of the face. Horner Syndrome causes the pupils of the affected area to become smaller in size and there is a notable difference between the pupils of the two eyes. This is medically referred to as anisicoria. The pupils also get dilated in lightings that are not bright.
Ptosis of the affected eye is yet another classic presenting feature or sign of Horner Syndrome. The eyes appear as if they have sunk inwards which is one of the unique symptoms of Horner Syndrome. An individual with Horner Syndrome also has minimal sweating around the affected area of the face even at extreme weather conditions. In some cases even the whole face may be involved and have no sweat.
However, drooping of the eyelids and anhidrosis are so minimal that in some cases they may not be even observed. Children with Horner Syndrome have color of the eyes that are different in both eyes with the affected eye having a lighter shade than the unaffected eye. This is seen mostly in newborns and infants who are in their first year of life.
Facial flushing on the affected side is also lacking in children with Horner Syndrome. This flushing is observable when the child is under stress or shows any sign of emotions like pain or happiness. Additionally, if the classic signs of Horner Syndrome appear immediately after an injury then it is recommended to take the patient to the nearest emergency room for a thorough checkup as it may cause complications.
Generally, along with the symptoms of Horner Syndrome there will be vision disturbances, lightheadedness, poor muscle control and coordination, sudden bout of headache.
To summarize Horner Syndrome is a sympathetic nervous system disorder in which the nerve pathway gets disrupted causing a variety of symptoms like anhidrosis and droopy eyes. Horner Syndrome normally affects only one side of the face. The nerve pathway causing Horner Syndrome normally gets affected due to certain medical conditions like a malignant tumor or after a stroke.
However, sometimes an injury to the spinal cord also causes Horner Syndrome. Thus, if the classic signs of Horner Syndrome appear immediately after an injury then it is recommended to go to the emergency room for evaluation to rule out any serious injury and get treated for it.