- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Argyll Robertson's syndrome

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This is more properly the name of a symptom than a syndrome. Robertson’s pupil is a frequent symptom of neurosyphilis, especially tabes dorsalis, and other diseases of the central nervous system, in which the pupil is small and responds slowly or not at all to light, but reaction to accommodation and convergence is retained. It also occurs in Wernicke's encephalopathy and diabetes. Usually bilateral. The phenomenon is still a medical puzzle. Even with today's knowledge the definitive proof of the aetiology of this peculiar pupil findings has still to be found.


  • D. M. C. L. Argyll-Robertson:
    On an interesting series of eye symptoms in a case of spinal disease, with remarks on the action of belladonna on the iris.
    Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1869, 14 (February): 696-708.
    Reprinted in Medical Classics, 1937, 1: 851-876.
    French translation in Annales d’oculistique, Paris/Bruxelles?, 1870, 63: 114-127.

  • Four cases of spinal miosis: with remarks on the action of light on the pupil.
    Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1869, 15: 487-493.

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