Thulasiraj Ravilla: India’s Visionary Healer

Thulasiraj Ravilla: India’s Visionary Healer

World-class eye care at low-cost prices.

We have the chance to very directly touch the lives of people.

Thulasiraj Ravilla isn’t a doctor, but he is a visionary healer—literally. In 1981, Ravilla started the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Opthalmology, a low-cost, high-quality approach to eye care that has provided sight to millions. “We provide care to all, regardless of capacity to pay,” says Ravilla. Forty-five million people around the world are blind, including 12 million in India alone. This is a truly sad fact, considering that 80 percent of these cases are preventable or curable, according to Ravilla. At the hospitals and eye care centers under his watch, 60 percent of patients do not pay anything at all or they pay very little—less than 50 U.S. cents for a complete eye exam. “Losing sight is next only to dying,” says Ravilla.

TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the world’s biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.

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