Thulasiraj Ravilla

Director-Operations, Aravind Eye Care System
Executive Director-LAICO
Aravind Eye Hospital, LAICO

Thulasiraj began his career in 1973 as Systems Manager at Berger Paints (India) Ltd., Calcutta.  One of the founding members of Aravind Eye Care System, he started as the Administrator of Aravind Eye Hospital in 1981.  He is currently the Executive Director of Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology (LAICO) as well as the Director – Operations for Aravind Eye Care System.

He is the Founder President of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight-India and now, one of the honorary member in Management Board.  He is a Board Member of Acumen Fund – USA, Aravind Eye Foundation – USA, Indian Institute of Health Management and Research, Bangalore as well as the President of Aurolab Trust. He was earlier on the boards of Seva Foundation – USA, Dhan Foundation and Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He is also member of several National and International Advisory Committees on Eye Care.

He has Bachelors from Madras Christian College and PGDM (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management.  He was visiting scholar at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, as well as guest faculty in many academic institutions in India and other countries.

Since 1985, Thulsiraj have been involved actively in the several research activities of the hospital both as researcher and research administrator. The following is a list of such major projects:

  1. Rapid Epidemiologic Assessment of Cataract blindness for planning eye health services:

A sample survey was done, in an area representative of two districts, using trained eye health workers. Their diagnostic findings were compared with that of ophthalmologists to establish the level of accuracy. Was involved in the development of protocol & budget, design of the study, implementation, data management analysis and report writing.

  1. Operations research to reduce barriers to cataract surgery:

This study evaluated alternate strategies to motivate patients with operable cataract. The study covered 90 villages with a sample of about 22,500 individuals. Was associated with the development of protocol, procedure manual and actively involved in the implementation. Was responsible for project management, data management and analysis.

  1. Assessing the impact of adequate intake of Vitamin A on morbidity and mortality trends of preschool children in South India:

This was a prospective randomized, double masked clinical trial involving a total of 15,419 children. The study employed about 300 field workers to administer 52 weekly doses and record morbidity details on all the children. In addition a detailed medical examination and anthropomorphic measurements were done at baseline and at end of study. Was involved in the budget development, manual of operations and in implementation. Established the entire data gathering, entry and data management mechanism. Was primarily responsible for the project management, data and logistics of manpower and supplies.

  1. Clinical trial to assess the safety & efficacy of vanadium stainless steel sutures:

This again was a randomized clinical trial involving a total sample of 3,400 patients. The study was completed with a 97% follow-up rate. Involved in the implementation, data management and overall project management.

  1. Randomized clinical trial to evaluate long term outcomes of PC‑IOL implants as compared to common ICCE method:

This study is presently on-going. The recruitment of 3,400 study subjects and the intervention are complete. The study is designed to have a one year follow-up on all patients and this is nearing completion with over 90% follow-up coverage. Associated in the development of protocol, budget and manual of procedures. Responsible for the integrity of data gathering and its management.

  1. Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey:

This is a population based survey in which 5,000 persons over the age of 40 will undergo a very comprehensive eye examination. The enumeration is done in the field and the individuals are transported to the hospital for a detailed eye examination, which includes visual fields, grading of the lens and examination of the posterior chamber. This is a multi‑centre study with two centres. Involved as the Principal Investigator.

  1. Solar UV‑B radiation on the eye:

Temporary advisor to WHO on the issues of solar UV‑B radiation on the eye. Participated in the two workshops held at WHO, Geneva on ‘Effect of Ultra Violet Radiation on the eye’; held from 30th August to 3rd September, 1993 and in March 1994.

  1. Cataract intervention evaluation studies:

Member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the WHO sponsored Evaluation of the Cataract Services in Nepal. (1994 – 96) and China (1996-97).

  1. The Role of Antioxidants in Cataract prevention:

This is a prospective, double masked, placebo control trial to determine the potential of oral antioxidant supplementation to retard the progression of cataracts in South India for a sample of 800 subjects. This study is presently going on and will continue for a period of 3 years. I am involved in the study as investigator.

  1. Vitamin-A Supplementation in New Born (VASIN)

To evaluate the efficacy of vitamin A supplementation of new-born infants (25,000 IU x 2 Doses) on mortality within the first 6 months of life using a community-based distribution outcome assessment strategy. My role in this is co-investigator.

  1. Gender study:

Gender Issues in a Cataract Surgical Population in South India- supported by Seva Canada. This was a hospital based cross sectional study conducted over a period of 30 weeks including around 6600 cataract surgical patients.  I was a co-investigator in this study.

  1. Comparison of spectacle uptake for refractive errors, across multiple delivery systems:

The primary objective of this study is to compare the uptake of spectacles (as a means of refractive error correction) across four different dispensing methods. I was a co-investigator in this study.

  1. WHO/NEI Presbyopia study:

The overall objective of this epidemiological research is to assess the prevalence and socioeconomic burden of near visual impairment caused by uncorrected presbyopia. I was the Principle investigator in this study.

Projects & Papers:

Non‑health related:
  1. An inventory model for the steel retailing outlets of GUEST KEEN WILLIAMS LTD.

Market share, demand potential and demand pattern for each of their retail outlets were assessed through an extensive market survey. The findings of the survey together with the company’s marketing plans formed the basis for evolving the inventory model.

  1. Application of Operations Research in Marketing:

The paper was a survey and consolidation of literature in this area. The topics covered include distribution, warehouse location, pricing and advertising media selection.

  1. Automobile Ancillary Industry in India:

This is a comprehensive report on the industry covering all aspects such as Government regulations, raw materials, pricing and discount structures, distribution, problems, etc.

  1. Corporate Planning:

A general article on various principles of corporate planning. Chemical Engineering World ‑ August 1978 issue.

  1. Integrated inventory System ‑Madurai Management Association(July 1984):

A paper describing a centralized Inventory system that handled multi‑production facilities, supplying products to over 20 sales outlets, raw material inputs numbered over 400 while the finished goods were over 2000 stock keeping units.

Thulasiraj has authored / co-authored over 90 publications on Peer Reviewed Journals and presented papers in over 150 National and International Eye Care Forums.

List of publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  1. Thulasiraj RD. Commentary: Playing it safe versus being responsible. Indian J Ophthalmol 2019;67:1525-1526.
  2. Gupta S, Ravindran RD, Ganesh-Babu B, Ashok Vardhan S, Thulasiraj RD. Predictors of patient compliance with follow-up after cataract surgery. J Cataract Refract Sur. 2019;45:1105-1112.
  3. Sanil Joseph, Kim R, Ravindran RD, Fletcher AE, Thulasiraj RD. Effectiveness of Teleretinal Imaging–Based Hospital Referral Compared With Universal Referral in Identifying Diabetic Retinopathy: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137:786-792.
  4. Durr NJ, Dave SR, Lim D, Sanil Joseph, Thulasiraj RD, Lage E. Quality of eyeglass prescriptions from a low-cost wavefront autorefractor evaluated in rural India: results of a 708-participant field study. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2019;4:e000225.
  5. Gupta S, Ravindran RD, Ganesh Babu B, Ashok Vardhan S, Thulasiraj R. Evidence on importance of follow-up visits after cataract surgery. Ophthalmology. 2019;126:910-912.
  6. Gupta S, Haripriya A, Ashok Vardhan S, Thulasiraj RD, Ravindran RD, Shekhar M. Visual Acuity Outcomes in Resident-Performed Manual Small-Incision Cataract Surgery. Ophthalmology. 2019;126:764-765.
  7. Gupta S, Haripriya A, Ashok Vardhan S, Thulasiraj RD, Ravindran Residents’ Learning Curve for Manual Small-Incision Cataract Surgery at Aravind Eye Hospital, India. Ophthalmology. 2018;125:1692-1699.
  8. Sachin Gupta, Palsule-Desai OD, Gnanasekaran C, Thulasiraj RD. Spillover Effects of Mission Activities on Revenues in Nonprofit Health Care: The Case of Aravind Eye Hospitals, India. J Marketing Res. 2018:1-16.
  9. Thulasiraj RD. Tips for team management. Community Eye Health. 2018;31:51.
  10. Ganesh Babu BS, Thulasiraj RD. Evidence-based management of eye care delivery. Community Eye Health. 2018;31:S15-S16.
  11. Thulasiraj RD. Paradigm shift – For effective management of diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2018;66:893-894.
  12. Sanil Joseph, Thiruvengada Krishnan, Ravindran RD, Maraini G, Camparini M, Chakravarthy U, Thulasiraj RD, Hutchings A, Fletcher AE. Prevalence and risk factors for myopia and other refractive errors in an adult population in southern India. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt.2018;38:346-358.
  13. Das T, Ackland P, Correia M, Hanutsaha P, Mahipala P, Nukella PB, Pokharel GP, Raihan A, Rao GN, Ravilla TD, Sapkota YD, Simanjuntak G, Tenzin N, Thoufeeq U, Win T; IAPB South East Asia Region Eye Health Study Group. Is the 2015 eye care service delivery profile in Southeast Asia closer to universal eye health need! Int Ophthalmol. 2018;38:469-480.
  14. Thiel CL, Schehlein E, Thulasiraj RD, Ravindran RD, Robin AL, Saeedi OJ, Schuman JS, Venkatesh R. Cataract surgery and environmental sustainability: waste and lifecycle assessment of phacoemulsification at a private healthcare facility. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2017;43:1391-1398.
  15. Judson K, Courtright P, Thulasiraj RD, Khanna R, Bassett K. Impact of systematic capacity building on cataract surgical service development in 25 hospitals. BMC Ophthalmol. 2017;17:96.
  16. Robin AL, Thulasiraj RD, Venkatesh R. Combating Cataract Blindness. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135:94-95.
  17. Le HG, Ehrlich JR, Venkatesh R, Srinivasan A, Kolli A, Haripriya A, Ravindran RD, Thulasiraj RD, Robin AL, Hutton DW, Stein JD. A Sustainable Model for Delivering High-Quality, Efficient Cataract Surgery in Southern India. Health Aff (Millwood). 2016;35:1783-1790.
  18. Thulasiraj RD. Inequities in eye care in South Asia. Community Eye Health J South Asia 2016;29:s05.
  19. Thulasiraj D. Ravilla, Sanjeev Gupta, Ravilla D. Ravindran, Praveen Vashist, Tiruvengada Krishnan, Giovanni Maraini, Usha Chakravarthy, and Astrid E. Fletcher. Use of Cooking Fuels and Cataract in a Population-Based Study: The India Eye Disease Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016;124:1857-1862.
  20. Preethi P, Muraleedharan VR, Kamalnabhan TJ, Thulasiraj RD. Healthcare human resource for ensuring patient focused care. Management Health. 2015;19:20-25.
  21. Subburaman G-BB, Hariharan L, Ravilla TD, Ravilla RD, Kempen JH. Demand for Tertiary Eye Care Services in Developing Countries. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015;160:619-27.e1.
  22. Priya A, Veena K, Thulasiraj R, Fredrick M, Venkatesh R, Sengupta S, et al. Vision screening by teachers in southern Indian schools: testing a new “all class teacher” model. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2015;22:60–5.
  23. Shrime MG, Sleemi A, Ravilla TD. Charitable platforms in global surgery: a systematic review of their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and role training. World J Surg. 2015;39:10–20.
  24. Ravilla T, Chinnathambi G. Building the eye care team. Community Eye Health. 2014;27:26–7.
  25. Ravilla T, Ramasamy D. Efficient high-volume cataract services: the Aravind model. Community Eye Health. 2014;27:7–8.
  26. Lewallen S, Lansingh V, Thulasiraj RD. Vision 2020: moving beyond blindness. Int Health. 2014;6:158–9.
  27. Sommer A, Taylor HR, Ravilla TD, West S, Lietman TM, Keenan JD, et al. Challenges of ophthalmic care in the developing world. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;132:640–4.
  28. He M, Abdou A, Ellwein LB, Naidoo KS, Sapkota YD, Thulasiraj RD, et al. Age-related prevalence and met need for correctable and uncorrectable near vision impairment in a multi-country study. Ophthalmology. 2014;121:417–22.
  29. Ramasamy D, Joseph S, Valaguru V, Mitta VP, Ravilla TD, Cotch MF. Cluster randomized trial to compare spectacle delivery systems at outreach eye camps in South India. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2013;20:308-14.
  30. Ravilla T. Patient flow and cost. Community Eye Health. 2013;26:44.
  31. Joseph S, Ravilla T, Bassett K. Gender issues in a cataract surgical population in South India. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2013;20:96–101.
  32. Robin AL, Thulasiraj RD. Cataract blindness. Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130:1452–5.
  33. Ravilla TD, Ramasamy D. Advocacy for eye care. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2012;60:376–9.
  34. Qureshi BM, Mansur R, Rajhi A Al-, Lansingh V, Eckert K, Hassan K, et al. Best practice eye care models. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2012;60:351–7.
  35. He M, Abdou A, Naidoo KS, Sapkota YD, Thulasiraj RD, Varma R, et al. Prevalence and correction of near vision impairment at seven sites in China, India, Nepal, Niger, South Africa, and the United States. Am J Ophthalmol. 2012;154:107–16.e1.
  36. Coles CL, Rahmathullah L, Kanungo R, Katz J, Sandiford D, Devi S, et al. Pneumococcal carriage at age 2 months is associated with growth deficits at age 6 months among infants in South India. J Nutr. 2012;142:1088–94.
  37. Thulsiraj R. Managing your eye unit’s supplies. Community Eye Health. 2011;24:32–5.
  38. Ravindran RD, Vashist P, Gupta SK, Young IS, Maraini G, Camparini M, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for vitamin C deficiency in north and south India: a two centre population based study in people aged 60 years and over. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e28588.
  39. Ravindran RD, Vashist P, Gupta SK, Young IS, Maraini G, Camparini M, et al. Inverse association of vitamin C with cataract in older people in India. Ophthalmology. 2011; 118:1958–65.e2.
  40. Hennessy AL, Katz J, Ramakrishnan R, Krishnadas R, Thulasiraj RD, Tielsch JM, et al. The utility of relative afferent pupillary defect as a screening tool for glaucoma: prospective examination of a large population-based study in a south Indian population. Br J Ophthalmol. 2011;95:1203–6.
  41. Garcia CR, Mullany LC, Rahmathullah L, Katz J, Thulasiraj RD, Sheeladevi S, et al. Breast-feeding initiation time and neonatal mortality risk among newborns in South India. J Perinatol. 2011;31:397–403.
  42. Ravilla T, Joseph S. How Can Hospital Programs be Strengthened to Enhance Achievement of VISION 2020 Objectives? Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol. 2011;18:102–8.
  43. Rathinam SR, Krishnadas R, Ramakrishnan R, Thulasiraj RD, Tielsch JM, Katz J, et al. Population-based prevalence of uveitis in Southern India. Br J Ophthalmol. 2011;95:463–7.
  44. Vashist P, Talwar B, Gogoi M, Maraini G, Camparini M, Ravindran RD, et al. Prevalence of cataract in an older population in India: the India study of age-related eye disease. Ophthalmology. 2011;118:272–8.e1–2.
  45. Faal H, Cook C, Thulasiraj RD. Managing information in eye care programmes: the health systems perspective. Community Eye Health J. 2010;23:50-53.
  46. Ravilla T. Tackling Blindness in India: have we done enough?(II). J Int Med Sci Acad. 2010;23:192-194.
  47. Prajna NV, Suresh Kumar, Thulasiraj RD, Sashi Priya. A Strategy to Develop Sustainable Eye Care Programmes. Points De Vue. 2010:29-33.
  48. Lewallen S, Thulasiraj RD. Eliminating cataract blindness – how do we apply lessons from Asia to sub-Saharan Africa? Glob Pub Health 2010;5:639-48.
  49. Krishnan T, Ravindran RD, Murthy GVS, Vashist P, Fitzpatrick KE, Thulasiraj RD, et al. Prevalence of early and late age-related macular degeneration in India: the INDEYE study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51:701–7.
  50. Namperumalsamy P, Kim R, Vignesh TP, Nithya N, Royes J, Gijo T, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy: a population-based assessment from Theni District, south India. Postgrad Med J. 2009;85:643–8.
  51. Katz J, Tielsch JM, Thulasiraj RD, Coles C, Sheeladevi S, Yanik EL, et al. Risk factors for maternal night blindness in rural South India. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2009;16:193–7.
  52. Namperumalsamy P, Kim R, Vignesh TP, Nithya N, Royes J, Gijo T, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy: a population-based assessment from Theni District, south India. Br J Ophthalmol. 2009;93:429–34.
  53. Natchiar G, Thulasiraj R, Sundaram RM. Cataract surgery at Aravind Eye Hospitals: 1988-2008. Community Eye Health. 2008;21:40–2.
  54. Bhandari A, Dratler S, Raube K, Thulasiraj RD. Specialty care systems: a pioneering vision for global health. Health Aff (Millwood). 2008;27:964–76.
  55. Tielsch JM, Rahmathullah L, Katz J, Thulasiraj RD, Coles C, Sheeladevi S, et al. Maternal night blindness during pregnancy is associated with low birthweight, morbidity, and poor growth in South India. J Nutr. 2008;138:787–92.
  56. Tielsch JM, Rahmathullah L, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Coles C, Sheeladevi S, et al. Newborn vitamin A dosing reduces the case fatality but not incidence of common childhood morbidities in South India. J Nutr. 2007;137:2470–4.
  57. Thulasiraj R. Advocacy to improve the delivery of eye care. Community Eye Health. 2007;20:66–7.
  58. Thulasiraj RD. Delivering Efficient Eye Care. Cataract Refract Surg Today. 2007;7:77-79.
  59. Thulasiraj R, Srinivasan V. Care of instruments and equipment: a success story. Community Eye Health. 2007;20:16.
  60. Rangan VK, Thulasiraj RD. Making Sight Affordable (Innovations Case Narrative: The Aravind Eye Care System). Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization. 2007;2:35–49.
  61. Gritz DC, Srinivasan M, Smith SD, Kim U, Lietman TM, Wilkins JH, et al. The Antioxidants in Prevention of Cataracts Study: effects of antioxidant supplements on cataract progression in South India. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006;90:847–51.
  62. Thulasiraj RD, Sundaram RM. Optical services through outreach in South India: a case study from Aravind Eye Hospitals. Community Eye Health. 2006;19:29–30.
  63. Gritz DC, Srinivasan M, Smith SD, Kim U, Lietman TM, Wilkins JH, et al. Antioxidants in prevention of cataracts in South India: methodology and baseline data. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2006;13:97–107.
  64. Ravindran RD, Thulasiraj RD. Aravind Eye Care System: developing sustainable eye care. Cataract Refract Surg Today. 2006;6:45-47.
  65. Moulton LH, Rahmathullah L, Halsey NA, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Tielsch JM. Evaluation of non-specific effects of infant immunizations on early infant mortality in a southern Indian population. Trop Med Int Health. 2005;10:947–55.
  66. Nirmalan PK, Tielsch JM, Katz J, Thulasiraj RD, Krishnadas R, Ramakrishnan R, et al. Relationship between vision impairment and eye disease to vision-specific quality of life and function in rural India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005;46:2308–12.
  67. Gupta SK, Viswanath K, Thulasiraj RD, Murthy GVS, Lamping DL, Smith SC, et al. The development of the Indian vision function questionnaire: field testing and psychometric evaluation. Br J Ophthalmol. 2005;89:621–7.
  68. Murthy GVS, Gupta SK, Thulasiraj RD, Viswanath K, Donoghue EM, Fletcher AE. The development of the Indian vision function questionnaire: questionnaire content. Br J Ophthalmol. 2005;89:498–503.
  69. Muralikrishnan R, Krishna PR, Thulasiraj RD, Bachani D, Gupta S, Murthy GVS. Blindness estimations, projections and service delivery. NCMH Background Papers.
  70. Vijayakumar V, John RK, Datta D, Thulasiraj RD, Nirmalan PK. Quality of life after community-based rehabilitation for blind persons in a rural population of South India. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2004;52:331–5.
  71. Robin AL, Nirmalan PK, Krishnadas R, Ramakrishnan R, Katz J, Tielsch J, et al. The utilization of eye care services by persons with glaucoma in rural south India. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2004;102:47–54; discussion 54–5.
  72. Nirmalan PK, Katz J, Robin AL, Ramakrishnan R, Krishnadas R, Thulasiraj RD, et al. Female reproductive factors and eye disease in a rural South Indian population: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004;45:4273–6.
  73. Nirmalan PK, Katz J, Robin AL, Krishnadas R, Ramakrishnan R, Thulasiraj RD, et al. Utilisation of eye care services in rural south India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004;88:1237–41.
  74. Nirmalan PK, Katz J, Tielsch JM, Robin AL, Thulasiraj RD, Krishnadas R, et al. Ocular trauma in a rural south Indian population: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Ophthalmology. 2004;111:1778–81.
  75. Nirmalan PK, Robin AL, Katz J, Tielsch JM, Thulasiraj RD, Krishnadas R, et al. Risk factors for age related cataract in a rural population of southern India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Study. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004;88:989–94.
  76. Pizzarello L, Abiose A, Ffytche T, Duerksen R, Thulasiraj R, Taylor H, et al. VISION 2020: The Right to Sight: a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122:615–20.
  77. Nirmalan PK, Katz J, Robin AL, Tielsch JM, Namperumalsamy P, Kim R, et al. Prevalence of vitreoretinal disorders in a rural population of southern India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122:581–6.
  78. Vijayakumar V, Datta D, Karthika A, Thulasiraj RD, Nirmalan PK. Utilization of community-based rehabilitation services for incurably blind persons in a rural population of southern India. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2003;51:273–7.
  79. Nirmalan PK, Krishnadas R, Ramakrishnan R, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Tielsch JM, et al. Lens opacities in a rural population of southern India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003;44:4639–43.
  80. Thulasiraj RD, Nirmalan PK, Ramakrishnan R, Krishnadas R, Manimekalai TK, Baburajan NP, et al. Blindness and vision impairment in a rural south Indian population: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Ophthalmology. 2003;110:1491–8.
  81. Ramakrishnan R, Nirmalan PK, Krishnadas R, Thulasiraj RD, Tielsch JM, Katz J, et al. Glaucoma in a rural population of southern India: the Aravind comprehensive eye survey. Ophthalmology. 2003;110:1484–90.
  82. Rahmathullah L, Tielsch JM, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Coles C, Devi S, et al. Impact of supplementing newborn infants with vitamin A on early infant mortality: community based randomised trial in southern India. BMJ. 2003;327:254.
  83. Thulasiraj RD, Saravanan S. Role of Management and Personnel Training in Prevention of Blindness Programmes. J Int Med Sci Acad. 2003;16:169-174.
  84. Nirmalan PK, Padmavathi A, Thulasiraj RD. Sex inequalities in cataract blindness burden and surgical services in south India. Br J Ophthalmol. 2003;87:847–9.
  85. Mamidipudi PR, Vasavada AR, Merchant SV, Namboodiri V, Ravilla TD. Quality-of-life and visual function assessment after phacoemulsification in an urban indian population. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2003;29:1143–51.
  86. Krishnadas R, Nirmalan PK, Ramakrishnan R, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Tielsch JM, et al. Pseudoexfoliation in a rural population of southern India: the Aravind Comprehensive Eye Survey. Am J Ophthalmol. 2003;135:830–7.
  87. Thulasiraj RD, Reddy A, Selvaraj S, Munoz SR, Ellwein LB. The Sivaganga eye survey: II. Outcomes of cataract surgery. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2002;9:313–24.
  88. Thulasiraj RD, Rahamathulla R, Saraswati A, Selvaraj S, Ellwein LB. The Sivaganga eye survey: I. Blindness and cataract surgery. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2002;9:299–312.
  89. Narendran V, John RK, Raghuram A, Ravindran RD, Nirmalan PK, Thulasiraj RD. Diabetic retinopathy among self-reported diabetics in southern India: a population based assessment. Br J Ophthalmol. 2002;86:1014–8.
  90. Nirmalan PK, Thulasiraj RD, Maneksha V, Rahmathullah R, Ramakrishnan R, Padmavathi A, et al. A population based eye survey of older adults in Tirunelveli district of south India: blindness, cataract surgery, and visual outcomes. Br J Ophthalmol. 2002;86:505–12.
  91. Thulasiraj RD, Sivakumar AK. Cost containment in eye care. Community Eye Health. 2001;14:4–6.
  92. Coles CL, Kanungo R, Rahmathullah L, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Santosham M, et al. Pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization in young South Indian infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2001;20:289–95.
  93. Coles CL, Rahmathullah L, Kanungo R, Thulasiraj RD, Katz J, Santhosham M, et al. Vitamin A supplementation at birth delays pneumococcal colonization in South Indian infants. J Nutr. 2001;131:255–61.
  94. Thulasiraj R, Saravanan S. Productivity: getting cataract patients “through and out.” Community Eye Health. 2000;13:22–3.
  95. Fletcher AE, Donoghue M, Devavaram J, Thulasiraj RD, Scott S, Abdalla M, et al. Low uptake of eye services in rural India: a challenge for programs of blindness prevention. Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117:1393–9.
  96. Ellwein LB, Thulasiraj RD, Boulter AR, Dhittal SP. Estimating costs of programme services and products using information provided in standard financial statements. Bull World Health Organ. 1998;76:459–67.
  97. Oliver JE, Thulasiraj RD, Rahmathullah R, Baburajan null, Katz J, Tielsch JM, et al. Vision-specific function and quality of life after cataract extraction in south India. J Cataract Refract Surg. 1998;24:222–9.
  98. Fletcher A, Vijaykumar V, Selvaraj S, Thulasiraj RD, Ellwein LB. The Madurai Intraocular Lens Study. III: Visual functioning and quality of life outcomes. Am J Ophthalmol. 1998;125:26–35.
  99. Natchiar GN, Thulasiraj RD, Negrel AD, Bangdiwala S, Rahmathallah R, Prajna NV, et al. The Madurai Intraocular Lens Study. I: A randomized clinical trial comparing complications and vision outcomes of intracapsular cataract extraction and extracapsular cataract extraction with posterior chamber intraocular lens. Am J Ophthalmol. 1998;125:1–13.
  100. Thulasiraj RD, Priya R, Saravanan S. High volume, high quality cataract surgery. Indian J Community Health. 1997;3:32.
  101. Fletcher AE, Ellwein LB, Selvaraj S, Vijaykumar V, Rahmathullah R, Thulasiraj RD. Measurements of vision function and quality of life in patients with cataracts in southern India. Report of instrument development. Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115:767–74.
  102. Robin AL, Natchiar G, Thulasiraj RD, Venkataswamy G. A long-term approach to eliminate cataract blindness. Ophthalmology. 1997;104:571–2.
  103. Natchiar G, Robin AL, Thulasiraj RD, Krishnaswamy S. Attacking the backlog of India’s curable blind. The Aravind Eye Hospital model. Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112:987–93.
  104. Ellwein LB, Fletcher A, Negrel AD, Thulasiraj RD. Quality of life assessment in blindness prevention interventions. Int Ophthalmol. 1994-1995;18:263–8.
  105. Rahmathullah L, Underwood BA, Thulasiraj RD, Milton RC. Diarrhea, respiratory infections, and growth are not affected by a weekly low-dose vitamin A supplement: a masked, controlled field trial in children in southern India. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;54:568–77.
  106. Ellwein LB, Lepkowski JM, Thulasiraj RD, Brilliant GE. The cost effectiveness of strategies to reduce barriers to cataract surgery. The Operations Research Group. Int Ophthalmol. 1991;15:175–83.
  107. Brilliant GE, Lepkowski JM, Zurita B, Thulasiraj RD. Social determinants of cataract surgery utilization in south India. The Operations Research Group. Arch Ophthalmol. 1991;109:584–9.
  108. Rahmathullah L, Underwood BA, Thulasiraj RD, Milton RC, Ramaswamy K, Rahmathullah R, et al. Reduced mortality among children in southern India receiving a small weekly dose of vitamin A. N Engl J Med. 1990;323:929–35.
  109. Venkataswamy G, Lepkowski JM, Ravilla T, Brilliant GE, Shanmugham CA, Vaidyanathan K, et al. Rapid epidemiologic assessment of cataract blindness. The Aravind Rapid Epidemiologic Assessment Staff. Int J Epidemiol. 1989;18:S60–7.
Books & Chapters
  1. Srinivasan V, Thulasiraj RD. Ophthalmic instruments and equipment care and maintenance: a handbook on care and maintenance. Madurai: Aravind Eye Care System; 2007.
  2. Foster A, Thulasiraj RD. Planning, management and evaluation of eye care services. In: Johnson GJ, editor. The Epidemiology of Eye Diseases. London: Chapman & Hall; 1998.
  3. Robin AL, Budenz DL, Congdon NG, Thulasiraj RD. Practical Application of Glaucoma Care in Different Societies. In: Shaarawy TM, editor. Glaucoma. 2nd Australia: Elsevier; 2015.
  4. Prajna NV, Thulasiraj RD, Srinivasan S. Cataract Surgery. In: Debas HT, editor. Disease Control Priorities – Essential Surgery. vol. 1, 3rd Washington: World Bank Group; 2015.
  5. Shrime MT, Sleemi A, Thulasiraj RD. Specialized Surgical Platforms. In: Debas HT, editor. Disease Control Priorities – Essential Surgery. vol. 1, 3rd Washington: World Bank Group; 2015.
  6. Gilbert SS, Thulasiraj RD, Louie L. Opportunity for population-based eye research in Asia and the Middle East: an NGO perspective. In: Prakash G, Iwata T, editors. Advances in Vision Research: genetic eye research in Asia and the Pacific. Vol II. Singapore: Springer Nature; 2019. p. 23-27.
  7. Thulasiraj RD. Community perspectives to ophthalmology. In: Prajna NV, editor. Peyman’s principles & practice of ophthalmology. 2nd New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers; 2019. p. 1849-1867.
At Aravind Eye Care System:
  • Part of the senior leadership team responsible with others for the governance and stewardship of the organization
  • Responsible for the development and improvement of systems including the extensive deployment of Information Technology
  • As the head of LAICO directly involved in teaching and capacity building. Oversee the conduct of all the training programs and the capacity building activities for over 300 eye hospitals.
  • Directly involved in the new hospital projects of both our own and that of others. Involvement includes estimating the eye care potential, participate in the design of the facilities, Human Resource planning, equipment planning, systems, etc.
  • Involved in designing and overseeing population based research studies
 At National level:
  • Formed a national consortium of non-governmental voluntary organizations involved in eye care. It is registered as the “VISION 2020 – The Right to Sight: India”. Led this organization as its Founder President till 2008.
  • Oversaw the development of the national 5 year plan for the period 2008 – 2013 requiring a budget of about US$ 350 Million.
  • Been part of several national committees relating to various aspects of the National Programme for the Control of Blindness.
 At International level:
  • Temporary advisor to the World Health Organization
  • Technical Advisor to several epidemiologic studies
  • Member of the Human Resource Working Group of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
  • Assisted the development and capacity building of over 300 eye hospitals in India and other countries
  • Guest Faculty at International Council for Eye Health (ICEH), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Guest Lecturer & Visiting Faculty at:
  1. International Centre for Eye Health, LSH&TM, University of London
  2. Dana Center, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University
  3. School of Management, Madurai‑Kamaraj University
  4. National Eye Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria
Other involvement in eye health related activities:
  1. Technical Advisor and Temporary consultant to WHO for several of their community based research studies and workshops discussing new issues.
  2. International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness – member of several committees and served as the Regional Chairman for South East Asia (2000 – 2006)
  3. Working closely with the Govt. of India in an advisory capacity to the Ministry of Health. There is an emphasis to strengthen the National Programme for Control of Blindness. Assisted the Govt. in preparing a proposal to the World Bank for assistance and am involved in developing the implementation strategies. Specially working on manpower training needs.
  4. Involved in the development of Health Management in the country. Member of a five-person network that is taking an initiative in this process in association with Foundation for Research in Health Systems. The first training programme for the CEO’s of large hospitals was held in September 1993 with faculty from Harvard University. A series of courses are planned for the next several years, aimed at both training the health professionals and developing training resource personnel in India.
  • 1993 : Certificate of Honorary Citizenship of State of Maryland, USA awarded on 18th May 1993
  • 2004 : Vivekanand Ratna Award given by NAB Hospital in Miraj, Maharashtra
  • 2004 : Designated as the Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum
  • 2004 : IAPB’s Regional Achievement Award given in the General Assembly in Dubai
  • 2006 : Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary club of Tiruchirappalli Rock City
  • 2008 : “Hospital Administrator of the Year in 2008” in India by Modern Medicare and GE Health group.
  • 2009 : Invited speaker at the TED – 2009 meeting in Mysore, India.
  • 2009 : Chinese Ophthalmological Society has awarded the International Gold Award of COS for outstanding contribution and support in the field of eye care in China.
  • 2013 : IPE – CSR Corporate Governance Social Innovation Award as part of the IPE-CSR Corporate Governance. Awarded at Mumbai on November 24, 2013.
  • 2014 : Listed amongst the 30 most influential people in public health
  • 2014 : Most inspiring Healthcare Leader of the year (2014) by Times of India
  • 2016 : Bangalore Oph. Society’s Gold Medal Oration award
  • 2017 : Bangladesh Oph. Society’s Alim Memorial Lecturer
  • 2018 : TNOA Dr. GV Community Ophthalmology Oration at their annual meeting held in Pondicherry
  • 2018 : IIM’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, Kolkata