By Emily Tait
Veteran British thespian Dame Judi Dench has revealed she is losing her sight and may soon be unable to read the scripts for her film roles.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the 77-year-old said that she has been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of sight loss in the western world that affects millions of people across the planet.
For a film star, it can make life very difficult as they can struggle not only to read their lines, but also fail to see cues from the director and other members of the production, even facial gestures from fellow cast members.
Dame Judi, who has played the character of 'M' in the James Bond films since 1995's Goldeneye and will reprise the role this year in Skyfall, said that her AMD has worsened to the point where she struggles to see people in front of her and even has to have friends and family read out scripts for new films and learn them by ear.
"I can't read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes. And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story," she told the newspaper.
"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 stars in the new film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel alongside Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and her fellow Dame Maggie Smith, and revealed she is keeping the eye condition at bay for the time being with injections.
The actress has also changed her lenses to stronger variants and has invested in a digital e-reader so that she can increase the size of the text when reading things, before shooting down any suggestion of retirement.
She told the newspaper: "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."
by Martin Burns