Horner’s syndrome is caused by damage to the sympathetic nerves that control your body’s circulation and perspiration. The sympathetic nerves start in the hypothalamus, go through the brain stem, down the spinal cord, and into the chest. From the chest, they go back up the neck, along the carotid arteries, into the skull, and then to the eyes. If the nerves are injured at any point along this path, it can result in Horner’s syndrome.
Horner’s syndrome usually affects only one side of the face. Features of the syndrome include:
- drooping eyelid (ptosis)
- elevation of the lower lid (upside down ptosis)
- decreased pupil size
- sinking of the eyeball into the socket
- decreased sweating on affected side of face (anhidrosis)
A full neurological exam is recommended to diagnose the problem and determine if any other parts of the nervous system are affected. The tests may include:
- blood tests
- eye drop tests
- carotid artery ultrasound
- chest x-ray
- CT angiogram
- CT scan of the chest
- MRI of the head
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