the eye institute of west florida

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-Angle Glaucoma

In the front part of the eye, there is a watery fluid that keeps the eyeball firm and the vision clear. Under normal circumstances, this fluid constantly flows into and out of the eye in perfect balance. In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage system is blocked internally which causes the fluid to back up and the pressure inside the eye to rise. When the pressure gets too high it damages the delicate optic nerve which is responsible for carrying visual images to the brain. If the damage progresses, the eye will eventually go blind. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in America.

The first decision that has to be made in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma is whether to start therapy with a laser treatment or with eye drops. The advantage of laser surgery is that it can clean the internal blockage, restoring normal function to the natural outflow system for a period of time that could be years. If the patient decides on an eye drop first, and the drop is not successful in lowering the pressure to ideal levels, your doctor may recommend laser surgery before adding additional drops.

Laser Treatment

The eye will be anesthetized with drops before the procedure is started so there is minimal if any, discomfort to the patient. Most patients do not complain of pain during the procedure. Laser therapy usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

After Laser Therapy

Immediately following the procedure, you may receive drops in your eyes to help stabilize and comfort the eye. You should know that your eye may be slightly red, mildly irritated and the vision blurred for approximately 1 to 2 days following your treatment. The eye pressure can be somewhat unstable after laser therapy because of the surgery itself.

Schedule your Glaucoma Evaluation today 
Call (727) 581-8706 to schedule your appointment


Meet Your Glaucoma Care Specialists

Tampa Ophthalmologist Jeffrey S. Schwartz, MDJeffrey S. Schwartz, MD 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.


St Petersburg Ophthalmologist Sandra M. Johnson, MDSandra M Johnson, MD 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.


Ophthalmologist Siddarth Rathi, MDSiddarth Rathi, MD, MBA, 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.

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