How Is Eye Twitching Linked to a Stroke?

Eye twitching accompanied by other symptoms may be an indicator of neurological dysfunction due to a mini stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack, according to Health Guidance and the American Stroke Association. Absent other definitive symptoms, however, eye twitching is not usually related to strokes.

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is temporarily blocked by a clot, causing symptoms such as face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty, explains the American Stroke Association. Generally, these symptoms manifest unilaterally, due to the hemispheric organization of brain function. A TIA can be differentiated from a stroke by virtue of the fact that the blood clot dissolves on its own, and the duration of the event averages five minutes.

There are two major categories of stroke, according to the American Stroke Association. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow in the brain and does not dissolve independently before neurological damage occurs, and a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a either a brain aneurysm bursts, or a blood vessel leaks. Hemorrhagic strokes are more fatal, with the swelling and pressure created by the blood flow into the brain severely damaging the surrounding tissue. For an ischemic stroke, the severity depends largely on the length of time that the blood flow is blocked, with neurological damage compounding rapidly. For every minute that blood flow is blocked, an additional 1.9 million neurons may die.

Approximately a third of individuals experiencing a TIA go on to have a full stroke within a year, according to the American Stroke Association.

Eye twitching, when not accompanied by other motor problems, is often attributable to stress, dehydration, or light sensitivity, according to Health Guidance.