Dame Judi Dench has spoken about her failing eyesight, which has left her unable to read scripts. Dame Judi suffers from macular degeneration, a condition which results in a gradual loss of sight. The actress, now 79, has told the Hollywood Reporter that she will not be slowing her career in light of her health problems.
“I can’t read any more. I can’t paint like I used to. I try to watch movies, but it’s quite difficult. But these are all of the negatives. I don’t want to really think about all that. What I can do, I do. And I somehow get by.”
“I heard a woman being interviewed on the radio the other day who was 105, and I expected this very frail voice, but this wonderful voice came out and she said to this reporter who was interviewing her, ‘I’ll tell you one thing,’ she said, ‘Don’t stop anything. I never stop anything I’m doing because otherwise I’ll never get started again.’ And I thought, ‘That’ll do.'”
During filming of her latest film, Philomena, Dame Judi’s co-star Steve Coogan read her scripts to her. But even before her eyesight began to decline, she preferred to have others read her scripts to her anyway.
Dame Judi has negated all suggestions that she might be getting ready to retire, and has called retirement “the rudest word in my dictionary”.
“And ‘old’ is another one. I don’t allow that in my house. And being called ‘vintage’. I don’t want any of those old words.
“I like ‘enthusiastic’ and I like the word ‘cut’ because that means you’ve finished the shot.”
You can find out more about the symptoms and treatments for macular degeneration by reading the article Early detection is vital.