Horner's Syndrome is a problem related to the eyes. It is a rare disorder of the nerves. It is typical that the disease affects just one side of the face. When Horner ‘s disease affects a person, it could be due to some other underlying disease- tumor, a brain injury, injury of the spinal cord. Hence, it is rather a cause than an effect. However, in certain cases, there could be no other reason for the disease. The name Horner’s syndrome is derived from Johann Friedrich Horner, who in 1869 gave a description of the disease.
The symptoms of this disease are:
- The eyeball sinks into its cavity. The eyeball stops reacting to light.
- The upper eyelid droops.
- The lower eyelid gets swollen.
- The patient is unable to sweat on the face.
- The color of the eye changes
- The size of the pupil may change.
Horner's syndrome is the result of paralysis sympathetic nerves of the cerebrum. Though the Horner’s syndrome affects the eye, it is a neurological disorder. The nervous system can be divided in to two parts. We can control one part of the nervous system, for example voluntary actions like walking, running, eating, sleeping etc. Another part of our nervous system is the autonomic nervous system, over which we have no control. For example –batting of the eyelid, breathing and blood circulation in the body.
The autonomic nervous system is again divided into two parts, namely, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. Both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system controls the involuntary actions of our body, internal organs, glands, blood vessels and tissues.
When something comes in the way of the sympathetic nervous system which passes from the brain to the neck, the parasympathetic support to the eye increases, this disrupts the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic supply to the eye and leads to Horner’s syndrome.
Causes of the Horner’s Syndrome -
Horner syndrome can be inborn, or it may be the result of some medical treatment or it could be hereditary. It could be also due to following various reasons –
- Tumor of the gland or in the body
- Metastatic Cancer
- Mediastinal mass
- Lesion on the cervical
- Infection of the middle ear
It can affect both male and female and can occur at any age. Once affected, it may not be curable in some cases. Horner’s syndrome is due to the reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nerves. The conditions listed below could lead to Horner’s syndrome.
- Neuron disorder of the first order: There are lesions on the sympathetic nerve that passed from the brain to the neck or the spinal cord.
- Second-order neuron disorder: When the sympathetic nerves come under pressure as a result of tumor in the lungs.
- Third-order neuron disorder: When there is tumor at the mouth of internal carotid artery.
There is no treatment available for Horner’s syndrome. The treatment is done only to cure the underlying disease. If there is no underlying cause for the disease, then, Horner’s syndrome cannot be cured.