Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is eye-rolling a symptom of Alzheimer's?"

ZocdocAnswersIs eye-rolling a symptom of Alzheimer's?


My dad is in his late 70s and he hasn't been officially diagnosed, but we know he has Alzheimer's. We're taking care of him, but in the meantime, his eyes have begun rolling back in his head at times. Is this a symptom of Alzheimer's disease, or should I have a neurologist see him?


Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain condition which is the leading cause of dementia in the world. The condition leads to progressive loss of cognitive function coupled with social impairment. Importantly, there are a number of reversible causes of dementia that must be ruled out when a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is being considered. Additionally, Alzheimer's rarely causes focal symptoms, such as rolling of the eyes into the head. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that your father be formally evaluated for other things that may be causing his symptoms, including epilepsy, brain tumors, stroke, thyroid disease, vitamin deficiencies, and other medical problems. If he appears lethargic, has slurred speech, or has any focal weakness he should be brought to an emergency room for immediate evaluation. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by his personal physician. Setting up a visit with his neurologist or primary care doctor to deal with these new symptoms is strongly advised.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.