ABC Medical Center > Horner’s syndrome

What is Horner’s syndrome?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition caused by damage to the sympathetic nervous system, compromising the nerve fibers that go from the brain (hypothalamus) to the face and eyes, causing the eyelid muscles to lose tone and fall, the pupil remains contracted, and the sweat on the side of the face that is damaged decreases significantly.

Also known as Bernard-Horner Syndrome or oculosympathetic paralysis, this condition can arise due to:

  • Headaches or severe migraines.
  • Stroke.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Surgeries.
  • Carotid artery injury.
  • Spine conditions.
  • Lung nodules.
  • Spine trauma or abnormalities.
  • Tumors.
  • Brain infections.

Signs and symptoms Horner’s syndrome

The characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Droopy eyelids.
  • Very marked difference in the size of the pupil between the two eyes.
  • Minimal dilation of the pupil stimulated with dim light.
  • Weak, numb, and painful arm.
  • Sore neck and ear.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Little or no sweating on the affected side of the face.
  • Decrease hearing
  • Reduced pupil size in the affected eye.
  • Digestive and bladder disorders.
  • Vertigo.
  • Double vision.

In children, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Affected eye lighter in color.
  • Inability of the affected side of the face to blush.

Diagnosis and treatment Horner’s syndrome

To establish a diagnosis, it is necessary to rule out other conditions that could be present, but the required procedures are usually a physical examination, symptoms evaluation, and eye exams that allow evaluating the reactions in the healthy eye that presents the problem.

To locate the possible cause of Horner syndrome, your doctor will request the following imaging studies: 

  • Carotid ultrasound.
  • Chest x-ray
  • MRI.
  • Computed tomography.

Although there is no specific treatment, the goal is to attack the cause to try to restore nerve function. In general, Horner’s syndrome is corrected when it is treated early and the pathology behind its origin is treated.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.


  • neurologiaclinica.es
  • neurologia.com
  • mayocilinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Martínez-Mayorquín VC, Lozano-Elizondo D, Moreno-Anda RE, et al. Síndrome de Horner como motivo de consulta en paciente con tumor de mama. Reporte de caso. Rev Mex Oftalmol. 2019;93(5):258-261.
  • Domínguez CLG, Alcocer MJL. Síndrome de Horner secundario a cirugía de columna cervical: una asociación infrecuente. Acta Med. 2019;17(3):263-267.
  • Fariñas FZ, Rangel FR, Guerra IR. Síndrome de Claude-Bernard-Horner. Presentación de un caso. Acta Med Cent. 2012;6(4):.
  • Jorge DL, Baquera-Heredia J, Padilla-Longoria R, et al. Síndrome de Horner secundario a schwannoma (con cambios degenerativos), de la cadena simpática cervical. Estudios clínico-patológico e inmunohistoquímico de un caso poco frecuente. Arch Neurocien. 2007;12(2):125-128.

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