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27th Oct 2022

Judi Dench opens up on condition that leaves her unable to read or write

God love her.

Dame Judi Dench has revealed that she can no longer read due to an advanced macular degeneration but it’s not stopping her from retiring.

The actress opened up about her health as she admitted that she now struggles to see but has discovered ways around it.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the middle part of the vision and affects people in their 50s and 60s. While it doesn’t cause blindness, it can make reading and recognition harder.

“I don’t want to retire. I’m not doing anything much at the moment because I can’t see,” she told Louis Theroux in his new interview series. “It’s bad, bad enough. Bad enough in that you’re quite fuzzy.

“I’ve got to teach myself a new way of learning. I have a photographic memory so a person saying to me, “This is your line”- I can do that. And I have many people who can help me. Nevertheless, I realise that I need to know where it is on the page. I’ll teach myself a way, I know I will. So long as I don’t trip over doing it.”

Speaking about her partner David, she said that he has been a great help during this time and recalled a moment not long ago that she realised it was bad.

“I went to a dinner a few weeks ago, a rather important dinner,” she recalled.

“It was so dark that I said to David, who was next to me, “Have I anything on my plate?” He said, “Yes”. I said, “Does it need cutting up?” So he said, “Yes” and I said, “Would you do it?” He cut it up and handed something to me on a fork and that’s the way I ate it.”