Dame Judi battles to save eyesight

Dame Judi Dench is suffering from an eye condition that makes it impossible for her to read scripts. The actress suffers from macular degeneration, an inflammation of the retina which affects vision in the over-60s. She has undergone medical treatment to prevent blindness.

The Oscar-winning actress talked about the problem in an interview with the Mirror. She now has to have assistance when considering new scripts. "Somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story," she said. "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 has adjusted to the condition, which also affected her mother. "You get used to it," she said. "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."

Dame Judi plans to keep working as long as possible. Her new film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, about pensioners retiring to India, is about to be released, and she is currently working on the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. She has played the role of M in 6 Bond movies since Goldeneye in 1995.

"As long as there is a possibility of working I'm not going to retire," she said, "because if I retire nothing will work any more, and it's hard enough as it is. I'm very conscious that I'm in the minority in that I love what I do."

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