Dame Judi Dench

has played down reports she is going blind.

The 77-year-old Oscar-winning actress revealed during an interview over the weekend that she is suffering from the age-related eye condition macular degeneration, and struggles to read scripts or recognise faces.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Mirror, Dench, who plays steely spy chief M in the James Bond movies, revealed that the condition had affected her sight in both eyes, and could no longer read scripts on her own.


"I can't read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes," she said. "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."

She added: "I've got what my ma had, macular degeneration, which you get when you get old. I had wet in one eye and dry in the other and they had to do these injections and I think it's arrested it. I hope so."

Describing one of the most frustrating parts of the condition, Dench said: "The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening I can't see the person I'm having dinner with.

"You get used to it. I've got lenses and glasses and things and very bright light helps. I can do a crossword if it's bright sunshine but if a cloud comes out the next minute I can't see anything."

But Dench, currently lensing upcoming Bond film Skyfall with Daniel Craig, said her vision problems would not be forcing her into retirement.

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

Dench has since released a statement downplaying reports that she will go blind.


"In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition-macular degeneration-I do not wish for this to be overblown," she told 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."

Loving your work, Dench. All the best to you!

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