- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Adie's syndrome

Related people

A neurological phenomenon in which one or both pupils is dilated and responds slowly or not at all to light and a near stimulus, accompanied by slow constriction and relaxation in the change from near to distant vision, and impaired accommodation. If the patient is in a darkened room for some time a bright light can cause slow and incomplete constriction of the pupil. The patient may complain of sensitivity to light in the affected eye. Loss of certain deep tendon reflexes - knee and ankle jerks - may also be present, but there are no other signs of diseases of the central nervous system. Usually a unilateral phenomenon without pathological significance. It is most common in women aged 20-40 years.

The London ophthalmologist James Ware (1756-1815) described some of the features of this syndrome in 1813. John Hughlings Jackson (1835-1911) described the syndrome fully in 1881, and in 1902 Max Nonne (1861-1959), Julius Strasberger, and Alfred Saenger. Oloff in 1914 appears to have been the first to show that the disorder is not syphilitic in origin. Joint publication in 1926 by G. Weill and L. Reys, and described by Adie in 1931 as a disease sui generis of the autonomous nervous system. At the time of Adie’s publication more than 60 similar cases had been described. Adie recognised the work of his colleague, Foster Moore, who, from 1924 onwards published altogether 15 cases – and later expressed his dissatisfaction with not having been ascribed the eponym. The eponymic term Adie’s syndrome was coined by the French neurologist Jean-Alexandre Barré in 1934, ”syndrome d’Adie”. He later discovered the casuistic by Weill and Reys in 1925 and then changed his opinion about whom the condition should be named for. Gordon Morgan Holmes in 1931 described 19 patients. The etiology is still unknown.


  • J. Ware:
    Observations relative to the near and distant sight of different persons.
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1813: 31-50.
  • John Hughlings Jackson in:
    Transactions of the Ophthalmological Societies of the United Kingdom, 1881, 1: 139-154.
  • J. Strasberger, A. Saenger, M. Nonne:
    Über myotonische Pupillenbewegung.
    Neurologisches Zentralblatt, Leipzig, 1902, 21: 837-839, 1000.
  • Über die Bezeichnung «myotonische Pupillenbewegung».
    Neurologisches Zentralblatt, Leipzig, 1902, 21: 1137-1138.
  • M. Nonne:
    Über die sogenannte «myotonische» Convergenzträgheit lichstarrer Pupillen.
    Neurologisches Zentralblatt, Leipzig, 1902, 21: 1000-1004.
  • C. Markus:
    Notes on a peculiar pupil phenomenon in two cases of partial iridoplegia.
    Lancet, London, 1905, 2: 1257. ???
    Transactions of the Ophthalmological Societies of the United Kingdom, 1906, 26: 50-56.
  • Oloff, in:
    Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde, 1914, 53: 493-502.
  • G. Weill, L. Reys:
    Sur la pupillotonie. Contribution a l'étude de sa pathogénie. A propos d’un cas de réaction tonique d’une pupille a la convergence et parésie de l’accommodation avec aréflexie a la lumière chez un sujet atteint de crises tétaniformes et d’aréflexie des membres inférieurs.
    Rev d’oto-neuro-ophtalmologie, Paris, 1926, 4: 433-441.
  • G. M. Holmes:
    Partial iridoplegia associated with symptoms of other disease of the nervous system.
    Transactions of the Ophthalmological Societies of the United Kingdom, 1931, 51: 209-228.
  • W. J. Adie:
    Pseudo-Argyll Robertson pupils with absent tendon reflexes. A benign disorder simulating tabes dorsalis.
    British Medical Journal, London, 1931, I: 928-930.
  • Tonic pupils and absent tendon reflexes: a benign disorder sui generis: its complete and incomplete forms.
    Brain, Oxford, 1932, 55: 98-113.
  • F. Kehrer:
    Die Kuppelungen von Pupillenstörungen mit Aufhebung der Sehnenreflexe, Adie-Syndrom, Pupillotonie, Pseudotabes, konstitutionelle Areflexie.
    Leipzig, Thieme, 1932.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.