It is no surprise that most people reduced to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses due to visual restrictions, would love to turn back the clock to days of 20/20 vision. Without the daily hindrances of glasses or lenses, life is just that bit more freeing, enjoyable and unhampered by a constant demand.
For over 25 years now, refractive surgeries such as Lasik (Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis) and Lasek (Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy), has been a place of refuge and miracle for many looking to restore their vision to its former glory. But there are still others that have not heard about these procedures, while many more lack full awareness of the process, famed for its quick results and painless nature. It should however be mentioned, that while many undergoing Lasik or Lasek achieve 20/20 vision, some still eventually might require glasses for driving at night or even reading as they age.
However, not all who want to refractive surgery qualify to receive it. Patients should be between the ages of 18 to 45 with generally healthy eyes and cornea free of disease. They are first screened thoroughly and asserted that they have suffered from stable refractive errors for atleast one year, with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, while their cornea is also measured for thickness and structural normality. Those who are pregnant or nursing also do not qualify to refractive surgery within this period.
Refractive Surgery consists of three parts, and is performed on an “outpatient basis” on the day of the surgery. First, anesthetic eye drops are administered to numb the eye to accommodate a comfortable, painless surgery experience for the patient. The eyelids will be then be kept open by a device called a ‘speculum’, while the patient is requested to fixate his vision on a red light during the procedure.
In Lasik Surgery, a thin flap of corneal tissue is peeled off with one end of it still attached to the cornea, after which the cornea is reshaped to suit individual requirements by Excimer laser. Thereafter, excimer lasers create a cool light beam to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea to reshape it so light entering the eye focuses more accurately on the retina for improved vision. For nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.
Afterwards, the cornea flap is placed back on the cornea (like a door being closed), allowing the flap to adhere to its original position within five minutes. This enables the procedure to end in just a few short minutes, and paves the way for greatly improved vision over the next days. A day of rest is generally prescribed, although it is usually recommended that one refrains from any strenuous exercise for at least a week, since this can affect healing.
For patients undergoing Lasek Surgery, generally those with a thin cornea or with pre-existing medical conditions, an alcohol solution is put onto the surface of the eye and an ultra-thin sheet is applied. This alcohol solution loosens the thin layer of cells on the eye’s surface called the epithelium. These cells then stick to the sheet, which is then gently moved to the side of the eye, giving the surgeon access to the layer of the cornea which will be treated by the laser. Generally, Lasek Surgery takes a longer period of recovery than its counterpart Lasik.
Leading private healthcare provider, Nawaloka Hospitals, operates a state-of-the-art Lasik Centre in Colombo that has so far successfully performed over 12500 successful refractive surgeries. The centre is currently the only one-stop Lasik treatment centre in the country, enabling patients to get all the diagnostic, treatment and surgery procedures completed at one location. It is operated and lead by a team of experienced and highly skilled eye surgeons and healthcare staff, aided by a fully-equipped unit fitted with the most advanced machinery and technology capable of performing extremely delicate treatments. Nawaloka Lasik Centre offers Lasik for refractive errors, Corneal Collagen Cross Linking Treatment for Keratoconus (CXL), Corneal Collagen Cross Linking Treatment with Trans Epithelial Riboflavin Solution, Topoguided PRK, Topoguided PRK with corneal collagen cross linking treatment and Lasik extra.
Private Tutoring Amidst Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis: Issues Faced by Students
By Usha Perera
Sri Lanka’s education sector, still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, now faces acute challenges due to the current political and economic crises. The sudden imposition of curfews and the lack of transportation have resulted in school closures and students being deprived of structured and systematic in-school education. In Sri Lanka, closing schools for just one day causes a loss of 25 million learning hours and 1.4 million teaching hours. Alongside this, private tutoring has gained greater importance. This blog discusses the issues faced mainly by Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) students in attending tuition classes based on an IPS study. The study findings are derived from a sample of about 340 students, and 16 teachers and tutors across Sri Lanka.
Affordability of Private Tuition Classes
The surge in the cost of living with wages failing to keep pace with inflation and loss of income generation channels have been unbearable for parents of school-going children. The IPS study found that students who belonged to family income levels below LKR 30,000 spend approximately LKR 3,000-Rs. 7,000 per month while students whose family income was above LKR 200,000 spend approximately LKR 18,000- LKR 20,000 per month on private tuition depending on the grade of the student. This scenario is illustrated in Figure 1.
Further, most O/L and A/L level students spend more than LKR 2,000 per month on data packages for both school and tuition online classes, while most students who spend more than LKR 2,000 per month are concentrated among the higher family income categories. If LKR 2,000 is spent on monthly data packages, it would approximately account for 1% of whose family income is above LKR 200,000, and more than 7% of whose family income is below LKR 30,000. All this highlights the perceived importance of private education, especially among O/L and A/L grades, and the financial burden it imposes on a family’s household income.
These affordability concerns were partly offset by the introduction of free online classes during the pandemic, which has provided considerable relief for financially vulnerable students according to students interviewed for the IPS study. Affordability concerns were further allayed by reduced class fees by some tutors. The fees reductions were made accounting for the structural changes of administrative and operating costs of an online setting applicable based on the scale and intensity of operations of tutors. Financial issues faced by the families experiencing household income losses during the pandemic were also considered in fees reduction.
Accessibility to Online Classes
Online platforms were the sole medium for conducting classes during the pandemic while it becomes an option in the current context considering the social unrest, curfews and travel constraints due to fuel shortages. However, many students faced accessibility issues in joining online classes. The issues faced were poor signal coverage, high data costs, lack of necessary devices, and affordability concerns in the context of lost household income during the pandemic. Most of the students who belonged to a family income level above LKR 200,000 used a laptop/tablet while most of the students who belonged to a family income level of below LKR 30,000 relied on a smartphone. Smartphones were found to be less user friendly for academic use. In addition to the above issues, the ongoing power outages also present impediments to online education.The accessibility issues are mainly experienced by students from families with comparatively lower income levels, and those who had to rely on a smartphone for academic purposes. This implies a close positive relationship between household income and the quality of the education received; financial strength being the primary determinant of accessibility.
However, these accessibility issues were partly offset by the divergent opportunities experienced by students, especially in the context of online platforms. These prospects included the ability to join online classes conducted in distant locations that would otherwise have been restricted due to travel constraints and increased time available due to school closures. As a result, they increased the duration of tuition classes using the saved travel time.
While private tutoring became a way of bridging the gaps in the education system during the crisis, learning losses for the most vulnerable groups have further widened with accessibility and affordability issues. Since these issues were mainly observed among O/L and A/L student groups, there is a higher risk that vulnerable student groups would be highly challenged during their most decisive years leading to higher education and career development. Thus, it is necessary to address the affordability issues, focusing more on the vulnerable student groups. Financial assistance could be provided in terms of a certain number of free hours of teaching for selected financially vulnerable students and allocating a selected proportion of students to be taught at a concessionary rate.
To address the accessibility issues, recording the lessons and distributing the notes on different platforms will help to a certain extent. Providing digital equipment and networks for selected tuition centres and schools could also be considered since the lack of facilities and resources was identified as major accessibility issue for distance education. These would require collaborative efforts among the government, tutors, parents, non-government organisations and any other well-wishers.
Allianz Divitharana: A new take on Life and Health Insurance
The world’s number one insurance brand Allianz has announced the launch of its new Divitharana Insurance product, which provides comprehensive life and health insurance for policyholders and their loved ones, at an easily accessible and affordable price. The product, which has been designed for the mass market, a segment that is highly price sensitive, comes with a host of benefits and features, making it a truly comprehensive insurance product, that covers all of life’s important bases, protecting life’s most precious things.Tailored for the mass market, which includes farmers, fisherfolk, technicians, teachers, executives and other members of the general public, Divitharana Insurance provides life insurance at a flexible and economic price point, with the option for policyholders to settle the premium in monthly, quarterly, biannual or annual instalments, while also providing the convenience of increasing the cover provided during the policy period, without having to go for a new policy. These are particularly important features amidst the present economic challenges the nation is facing, as it allows everyone to have access to good and reliable insurance, regardless of their income level and style.
A key differentiator of Divitharana insurance is that each policyholder will be entitled to an individual investment account, on which an annual dividend will be declared and the proceeds credited to the policyholder’s account. On top of this, policyholders will also be entitled to an additional loyalty bonus of 20%, which will be added to the maturity value for continued on-time premium settlements. other than the life cover provided by Divitharana, policyholders can also opt to include additional covers such as Disability Benefit, Critical Illness and Hospitalisation cover, while also enjoying the flexibility of extending the insurance cover to include their spouse & children.
SLT-MOBITEL doubling the cloud with country’s first-ever VMware Cloud Foundation deployment
Understanding the importance of breaking new ground to reap the benefits of Enterprise premium cloud services, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, has become the country’s first-ever service provider to enable VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) deployment in the island and importantly the first telco provider to have two clouds. Amidst the changing dynamics, the deployment milestones are supporting SLT-MOBITEL’s Cloud programme in accelerating digital transformation.SLT-MOBITEL Enterprise premium cloud was launched in 2018. Having a successful journey for over three years, the new mobilization now elevates and transforms the premium cloud through VMWare Cloud Foundation. Importantly, SLT-MOBITEL is the first local organisation to partner VMWare as a Business Continuity Certified Planner (BCCP) and initiate VMWare Cloud Foundation in Sri Lanka.
VMware Cloud Foundation is a suite of VMware products that provide building blocks necessary to implement an integrated software-defined data center platform. Its components combine to automate deployment and lifecycle management, helping to simplify IT operations and reduce administrative overheads for enterprises.With its Cloud Verified Status and as a VCF Enabled Partner, SLT-MOBITEL is now in the forefront as the only service provider in the country offering a range of new differentiated services such as automate infrastructure and application delivery with self service capabilities to help organizations plan, manage and scale their data center operations especially dramatically reduce provisioning times and cut operational costs.
The SLT-MOBITEL VMware VCF deployment ensures customers transition to the industry’s most advanced cloud platform with a complete set of software-defined services for compute, storage, networking, security and cloud management to run enterprise apps in private or public environments.By doubling the cloud SLT-MOBITEL establishes customers have both production and disaster recovery sites with different scales, located at two different Data centres with required ROP and RTO. The Disaster recovery site can be deployed at any scale with respect to production sites according to the enterprise customer’s requirement. SLT-MOBITEL also provides migration as a service with the features from NSX –T.
Through VCF, SLT-MOBITEL is offering customers the benefit of real disaster recovering services, a Software-defined Data Center (SDDC) and monitoring services, latest networking enablers with NSX – T up-to-date versions of VMware software vSphere, vSAN and intelligent, advanced VMware capabilities including ESXI and VSAN and efficient and effective migration services. SLT-MOBITEL also provides IaaS services, Virtual Machines, and Virtual Data Centers along with a range of other support facilities such as Disaster avoidance with Stretch Cluster (RPO 5 minutes), Disaster Recovery as a Service, and Backup as a service.Above VCF deployment is directly done by Vmware Professional Service team to ensure the highest quality deployment .
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