Judi Dench: My Eyesight Is So Bad I Can't Read Scripts

The Oscar-winning actress has a condition that's gotten so bad that she can't read scripts and has trouble making out people's faces

Dame Judi Dench is fighting to keep her vision after being diagnosed with macular degeneration. And, in an interview with the U.K.'s Mirror, the 77-year-old Oscar winner reveals the shocking extent to which her eyesight has already deteriorated.

"I can't read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes," Dench admits. "And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story."

The worst part of her condition, says Dench, is that she can no longer clearly see people's faces, even across a dinner table. Not only does this problem affect her social life, but Dench, also an accomplished stage actress, now has trouble enjoying a night at the theater.

"I know there might be something going on but sometimes I can't see it," says Dench of watching actors onstage, "and that infuriates me as I think I'm really missing out on something."

In order to slow the effects of macular degeneration, Dench is taking eye injections. She says she's gotten used to reading by very bright light and listening to audio books. And she is resolute that her loss of vision won't interfere with her life or career.

"As long as there is a possibility of working I'm not going to retire," vows Dench, "because if I retire nothing will work any more and it's hard enough as it is."

It's tough to imagine Dench working much harder than she is now: Last year, she appeared in four feature films, including My Week with Marilyn and J. Edgar. Her upcoming films including the British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the next James Bond movie, Skyfall. Her deteriorating eyesight is sad news indeed, but we're guessing it will take a lot more than that to slow Dame Judi down!

And, although some media outlets have responded to this news by insinuating that Dench is going blind, the actress insists that's not the case.

"In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition -- macular degeneration -- I do not wish for this to be overblown," Dench says in a statement to Reuters. "This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with. It's something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to -- and it will not lead to blindness."

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