Thulasiraj Ravilla was born in a small village in southern India and received his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta. In 1981, Thulasiraj joined Aravind Eye Care System and spent a year at the University of Michigan studying hospital and health management. Since then he has been part of the leadership team that built Aravind into the world's largest eye care provider. In 1992, he co-founded the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology. Thulasiraj served five years as the South-East Asia Regional Chair of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, and in 2003 founded VISION 2020: The Right to Sight-India, a consortium of voluntary eye care institutions, which he headed until 2008.