Holmes-Adie Syndrome: A Mysterious Eye Condition That Could Affect You

There are a number of issues that you can have or diseases you can be diagnosed with when it comes to your eyes, but one mysterious eye condition that you may not have heard of but could affect you, is Holmes- Adie syndrome.

You can get laser eye surgery with NHS support in certain circumstances and depending on what treatment you need, but before you get to that stage, it would be a good idea to find out about a disease such as Holmes-Adie syndrome, so that you be aware of the symptoms.

Unusual neurologic disorder

The first point to make is that this condition is also known as Adie’s pupil as well as Holmes-Adie syndrome, but they are one of the same thing.

It is considered by medical experts to be an unusual neurologic disorder, because it does not behave in the same way with every patient who is diagnosed with the condition. The syndrome affects the pupil of your eye and impairs its ability to constrict, normally in just one at the onset of the problem.

What is unusual about Adie’s pupil is that your second eye may also be affected over a period of time, but only in roughly 20% to 30% of all diagnosed cases, so you don’t always know to what extent the condition will affect you and whether you will have an issue with one or both eyes.

Still learning

The cause of Holmes-Adie syndrome is still not known and medical investigations are still ongoing, although it is generally associated middle-age and the loss of some of your reflexes.

The disorder is more common in women than men, and although we are still learning about the condition, it is believed that it is a form of neuropathy, where the nerves that control your pupils and reflexes selectively degenerate, removing an element of control.

There are some who take the opinion that Adie’s pupil is triggered by a virus attack, although a difference of opinion exists here, as some think that your immune system is the culprit, making antibodies that attack the specific nerves that become affected.

Although we are still learning about the root cause of this syndrome, the response is the same, which is that your pupil reacts more slowly to light than it would normally.


Adie’s syndrome displays three main symptoms.

A patient with the condition will have at least one abnormally dilated pupil, which does not constrict in response to light. They could also experience a loss of deep tendon reflexes, and abnormal sweating is another of the main symptoms displayed.

The positive aspect about being diagnosed with Holmes-Adie syndrome is that it is not a progressive condition and it not a life-threatening condition either, although it can be an uncomfortable experience for anyone who becomes inflicted by it.

If you notice that your reflexes are not as responsive as they used to be, it could be a sign of getting older of course, but it could also be a warning that you might be affected by Holmes-Adie syndrome.

Hannah Fox is a student doctor who is training to become an ophthalmologist. Life is crazy busy but Hannah loves it! In the little free time that she does get she enjoys participating in online discussions and writing articles on medical topics.


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