Random eye twitching is a condition that most people experience at some point in their life. And while eye twitching is generally a harmless symptom that results from daily stressors, there are some rare instances in which it can indicate a more serious condition like seizures or even a stroke. But when is eye twitching a sign of a stroke, and how do you know when to go to the doctor? Keep reading for everything you need to know!
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to one side of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. The effects of this are swift, and the brain’s cells begin to die within minutes.
Stroke Signs and Symptoms
A stroke is a medical emergency; consequently, it’s important to know what signs to look for so that it can be quickly identified and treated. A stroke may be evident as early as seven days before an attack, so to help remember and recognize these symptoms, use the BE FAST acronym:
- The loss of balance is a common early sign of a stroke. Vertigo, headaches, loss of balance, or sudden poor coordination. This is one of the earliest signs and is often ignored, especially if the sufferer commonly experiences any of the aforementioned symptoms.
- Double vision, blurred vision, abnormal blinking, or sudden loss of sight in one or both eyes is another common symptom. Because many stroke sufferers are middle-aged or older, this symptom can be misdiagnosed as being caused by cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.
- One of the most identifiable signs of a stroke is drooping or numbness on one side of the face. Even an uneven or lopsided smile can indicate a stroke. If you suspect that someone is experiencing a stroke, one of the fastest ways to tell is to ask them to smile and see if one side of the face droops.
- Many people having a stroke experience weakness or numbness on one arm or leg. Ask them to try to lift both arms; if they are unable, then they are likely having a stroke.
- Slurred speech, or otherwise difficulty speaking, is a serious sign of a stroke. This usually indicates that the stroke has progressed to or is nearing a full on attack, so immediate care is necessary.
- As with all medical emergencies, time is of the essence when it comes to a stroke. If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 so that they can be rushed to the nearest emergency facility. Every second counts, so don’t hesitate to take action.
Causes of an Eyelid Twitch
If you are experiencing an eye twitch but don’t have any other symptoms, it’s highly likely that there is no cause for concern. Eye twitching can be a side effect for plenty of minor causes that impact the facial nerve, including:
- Eye irritation
- Excessive caffeine or alcohol intake
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
- Poor nutrition
- Low or high blood pressure
Most of these conditions can be treated at home with adequate rest, extra attention to mental health, reduced caffeine and alcohol intake, and proper nutrition. The eye muscles can easily become fatigued, causing eyelid spasms. While you may need to buy some eye drops or get a better glasses prescription, you probably aren’t going to have a stroke. However, if you experience an eye twitch for an extended period of time, then it may be worth seeing a doctor to get to the bottom of it. With any luck, it will be nothing of concern, but because stroke symptoms can present several days before an attack, it never hurts to be careful with your eye health.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
No one likes to be the person that cried wolf, but when it comes to a stroke, it’s better to react fast just to be on the safe side. If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to get medical treatment as quickly as possible. Get to an emergency room fast— even if you aren’t sure on whether is eye twitching a sign of stroke —because every second can save a life.