Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome is a condition associated with disrupted nervepathways connecting one side of the face to the Central NervousSystem. It occurs when the sympathetic trunk nerves are affected byother diseases such as spinal cord injury or stroke. It adverselyaffects the eye and sweat glands in the affected region. In somecases, the underlying cause is unknown, while some people havegenetic predispositions. The main symptoms include smaller sizes ofthe pupil or delayed dilation, ptosis, and lack of or little sweatingon the affected side (Bartlett, 2013).

Horner’s syndrome is diagnosed through general medical examinationby a physician to identify and analyze the nature of the symptoms.Confirmatory tests follow this. They include cocaine drop test andparedrine test. The tests will compare the dilation of the affectedand unaffected eyes. However, these tests are influenced by theprominence of the symptoms, which allows the doctor to narrow down tothe condition. Additionally, advanced diagnosis methods such as MRIand CT scan can be used to identify the damaged nerves (Davagnanam,2013).

There are no treatments for Horner’s syndrome, but the symptomsvanish after the underlying causes are treated. Nonetheless, it hasdirect effects on occupational performance. Occupation therapy is,therefore, an important aspect of the interventions. It involves theevaluation of the patient needs and development of treatmentstrategies. They may include grooming to deal with the facial changesresulting from the condition. It is essential to address the visualdysfunctions and perceptual challenges, due to the size of the pupil,to reduce disability. Occupational therapists can also evaluate thesympathetic nerve damage to determine how it affects the patient’soccupation and propose relevant solutions (Bartlett, 2013).


Bartlett, J. (2013). Clinical Ocular Pharmacology, Burlington:Elsevier Science.

Davagnanam, I. et al. (2013). Adult Horner`s syndrome: a combinedclinical, pharmacological, and imaging algorithm. Eye (London).27(3):291-8.