The Eye Institute Of West Florida

Glaucoma

Are you looking for a Glaucoma Treatment Center in Largo, Clearwater, St. Petersburg or Tampa?

The Eye Institute of West Florida has three board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologists and an optometrist, all with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and the most common among African-Americans.

Our team offers patients compassionate care in a comfortable environment. Visit any of our six locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Largo and Clearwater to experience how we treat patients and their family members.

Couple with Glaucoma
Couple with Glaucoma

About Glaucoma

Often referred to as The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma is a general term used to describe a group of diseases all having the common characteristic of pressure within the eye that is associated with ongoing damage. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in America.

In the front of the eye there is a watery fluid which nourishes the cornea and other important eye parts of the eye. Under normal circumstances this fluid constantly flows into and out of the eye in perfect balance.

In glacuoma the out flow of fluid is blocked and this causes the pressure inside the eye to rise. When the pressure becomes too high, it causes damage to the delicate optic nerve which is responsible for carrying visual images to the brain.

How is Glaucoma treated?

Treatment usuall begins with laser surgery, which helps to lower pressure by cleaning the blocked drain. The next phase of treatment is with medicated drops which help to lower the pressure by decreasing the amount of fluid coming in the eye or by increasing the amount of fluid leaving the eye. When these treatments are not successful, surgical intervention is recommended.

Is surgery an option?

Based upon the amount of damage present, your physician must determine just what pressure level is safe for each individual patient (target pressure): the more damage present, the lower the pressure needs to be to prevent further damage.

Surgical intervention is recommended once laser and medical therapy have not adequately controlled the intraocular pressure. However, there are a few cases which surgical intervention is recommended earlier on in the course of treatment.

Asian American with Glaucoma
Asian American with Glaucoma

Risk Factors of Glaucoma

With no obvious symptoms, it is important to understand your risk factors of getting glaucoma. You have a higher than normal risk if you:

  • Are over the age of 40?
  • Have a family member with glaucoma?
  • Are African-American, Hispanic or Asian?
  • Have high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines or poor blood circulation?
  • Are nearsighted or farsighted?
  • Have had an eye injury
  • Use long-term steroid medications
  • Have corneas that are thin in the center
  • Have a thinning optic nerve

The only way to tell you to have glaucoma is to have a complete eye exam at least every one to two years. Detection of glaucoma may go undetected unless properly diagnosed by a physician.

Still interested in learning more?

When you are choosing where you will have your glaucoma surgery and treatment regimen, we are available to consult you on your options. Give us a call at 727-581-8706 to schedule your consultation.

If you are interested in reading more the different types of glaucoma and treatment options including drops and surgery, please refer to the following pages:

Choose The Eye Institute of West Florida for your glaucoma treatment to get the best vision results possible.

"I have medical conditions that make working with me a challenge. Dr. Schwartz takes into account my whole body not just my eyes. I have allergies and with some surgeries, I have had bad reactions. Brian caught the allergies and did what could to make me as comfortable without anything for surgery. Kim sat next to me and held my hand. Dr. Schwartz was great and gave me a break during the surgery, plus gave me more drops to numb my eye. Dr. Schwartz, Brian, and Kim were great. Please let them know what a great job they did under trying time."

Gail – Patient of Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz

Meet Your Glaucoma Care Specialists

Jeffrey S Schwartz, MDJeffrey S. Schwartz, M.D. is the first full-time board-certified, fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist in Pinellas County. He has been with The Eye Institute since 1988. His practice is limited to diagnosis, treatment, laser therapy and surgery of patients with glaucoma and other related diseases. Dr. Schwartz completed his residency at The University of South Florida and his glaucoma fellowship at the prestigious Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. He is active in medical research and has made major contributions to the treatment and management of glaucoma. Dr. Schwartz is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, He serves as the medical consultant to pharmaceutical companies in the search for more effective glaucoma medications. Dr. Schwartz is on the Board of Directors and is the Medical Consultant for the Lighthouse of Pinellas and has served as the Medical Director for a number of health care plans.


Sandra M Johnson, MDSandra M. Johnson, M.D. is a fellowship-trained specialist who has been on the faculty of several of the most renowned educational institutions in the United States; Dartmouth, University of North Carolina, and the University of Virginia. She joined The Eye Institute of West Florida after 20 years of experience in all aspects of glaucoma. She follows patients as their primary glaucoma caregiver as well as seeing patients as a consultant to other eye care professionals. She is skilled in the medical, laser and surgical management of the disease. While working as a clinician-educator, she wrote scientific papers and chapters and contributed to many eye meetings. Since 2006, she has cultivated an interest in international ophthalmology and served ORBIS, as a volunteer eye faculty in many foreign countries.


Siddarth Rathi, MDSiddarth Rathi, M.D. is a nationally recognized glaucoma specialist and physician innovator. He is the former Director of Teleophthalmology and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone School of Medicine. Dr. Rathi completed his graduate medical studies at Boston University and M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. His residency was completed at the NYU Medical Center and Glaucoma Fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute – a world-renowned Institution. While attending school, Dr. Rathi received various awards to his acclaim. He was awarded the American Glaucoma Society Mentoring for the Advancement of Physician-Scientists Grant Award. Over the course of his career, Dr. Rathi has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, secured grant funding, and presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Rathi’s interests include artificial intelligence in medicine, telemedicine, and big data analytics. He spends his free time with his family and enjoys traveling.