ALIA EXCLUSIVE: Aussie LDs visiting Swiss Clinic to save their Careers

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011


Now that a cure has become finally become available, ALIA can reveal the truth about Reduced Resolution Retinopathy the debilitating visual affliction that has nearly cost the careers of several of Australasia’s most prominent lighting professionals. Despite the problem being quite widespread, many of these designers have been working on in the hope that a cure for RRR would be found before it brought their careers to an end.

While not unknown in the general populace, Reduced Resolution Retinopathy has recently become very prevalent in the lighting industry due to the increasing use of low resolution video on LED systems in recent years. Prolonged viewing of the low-resolution, low-refresh rate LED matrices that are currently part of many productions, produces a reduction of sensitivity in retinal rod cells which results in what had – until recently – been considered a permanent reduction in visual resolution.

Above is a view of a production seen with normal vision

Above is a simulation of the view of the same production as would be seen with vision impaired by Reduced Resolution Retinopathy

A research group working on snow blindness at the University or Fribourg in Switzerland discovered in late 2009 that the simultaneous application of very low level coherent light at two separate wavelengths promoted the recovery of retinol production in affected rod cells. Since late 2010 this cure has been available at two private medical clinics in Switzerland, for those who can afford the two-week course of treatment. Several of Australia’s wealthier lighting professionals have been treated at these clinics recently on the pretext of attending European trade shows or going on “invited factory tours”. ALIA have unconfirmed reports that at least one European lighting equipment manufacturer has been offering to pay for the treatments for “loyal users of their products”.

When challenged about his recent “holiday and factory visits” in Europe, the globe-trotting LD Paul Collison reluctantly admitted that he had been treated and was once again in possession of full resolution vision. Collison was unwilling to discuss the source of the funds for his treatment or his business relationship with an un-named Shenzen LED manufacturer.

Pictured above are RRR affected lighting designers Paul Collison (actually pictured leaving the clinic), Trudy Dalgleish, Richard Neville and Dave Jackson.

After her stint on Hairspray it was rumoured that Trudy Dalgleish may finally have succumbed to RRR and a recent siting of her on the NSW Central Coast, wearing the heavy sunglasses required during recuperation from the treatment, lends credibility to the story.

Mandylights LD Richard Neville was surprised to be confronted by ALIA on this issue yesterday as he was arriving at Kingsford-Smith airport on his way to ProLight + Sound, a two full weeks before the event. He reluctantly admitted that he was booked in to a clinic for a course of treatment before the show.

We’ve also heard that LD Dave Jackson, who made extensive and intense use of Martin’s LC panels on several summer tours, has been talking about visiting the Martin factory in Denmark to “discuss improvements on their design”. However, Phaseshift crews have been querying Jackson’s use of his son’s low-res Nintendo DS for sending his emails, as this behaviour is often an early indicator of RRR.

When asked by ALIA if he had ever suffered from this problem Tony Award-Winning lighting designer Nigel Levings revealed that he was born in an era when low resolution vision was quite normal and that it had never had an impact on his career.

More information on RRR and its treatment is available from this page at the University of Fribourg.