Judi Dench Reveals She is Going Blind

The Oscar-winner says she suffers from macular degeneration, and can no longer read scripts or make out faces.

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Six-time Oscar-nominated (with one win, for Shakespeare in Love) acting genius Dame Judi Dench has revealed to The Mirror that she is going blind. Dench, 77, has been diagnosed with macular degeneration, a condition that steadily deteriorates vision. Her sight has already gotten so bad, she cannot make out faces directly in front of her, nor can she read scripts:

"And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story. It’s usually my daughter or my agent or a friend and actually I like that, because I sit there and imagine the story in my mind.

Meeting the Mirror in a trendy London hotel, Dame Judi said: “I can’t see your face at all now, but I can see your outline. I can see over there [she indicates the far side of the room, some 15ft away]. The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening I can’t see the person I’m having dinner with."

Dench says recent treatment for the disease, which her mother suffered from, too, has slowed its loss. "As long as there is a possibility of working," she told the Mirror, "I’m not going to retire."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.