‘I can't see on a film set anymore’: Judi Dench opens up about how her failing eyesight has impacted her acting career

31 July 2023, 14:56

The actress has opened up about the challenges her vision has posed to her career.
The actress has opened up about the challenges her vision has posed to her career. Picture: Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Dame Judi Dench has revealed how her failing eyesight has affected her ability to read scripts for upcoming acting projects and how she gets around it.

Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench, 88, says she has adopted new ways of learning scripts after struggling with her vision due to a condition known as macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration is common in people aged in their 50s and 60s and impacts the middle part of a person’s vision, according to the NHS website.

It doesn’t cause total blindness but can make everyday activities, such as reading and recognising people’s faces, challenging.

“I mean, I can't see on a film set anymore. And I can't see to read. So I can't see much,” she told The Mirror’s Notebook magazine.

Dame Judi continued: “But, you know, you just deal with it. Get on.”

She went on to reveal that she now learns her lines with the help of friends and her photographic memory.

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Dame Judi Dench opened up about her struggle with the condition.
Dame Judi Dench opened up about her struggle with the condition. Picture: Alamy

“It's difficult for me if I have any length of a part. I haven't yet found a way. Because I have so many friends who will teach me the script. But I have a photographic memory.”

But despite the challenges caused by the condition, Dame Judi said she still wants to work “as much as I can”.

Previously she opened up about how she had to stop driving because of the condition.

Since her diagnosis Dame Judi has continued to feature in films such as Belfast and Allelujah.

She said: “I have an irrational fear of boredom.

“That’s why I now have this tattoo that says carpe diem. That’s what we should live by.”

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