Dame Judi Dench has been diagnosed with macular degeneration, an eye condition, but she assures that it will not lead to blindness.
In an interview published in the Daily Mirror Saturday, the 77-year-old Oscar winner, whose mother had macular degeneration as well, says that she needs help memorizing lines because of the condition, which is characterized by damage to the retina.
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"I can't read scripts anymore because of the trouble with my eyes," she says. "And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story. 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. ... The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening, I can't see the person I'm having dinner with."
Dench, who has undergone treatment, downplayed the severity on Monday after numerous outlets reported that she was going blind.
"In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition — macular degeneration — I do not wish for this to be overblown," she said in a statement. "This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with, and it's something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to — and it will not lead to blindness."