In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Dench revealed that she had been diagnosed with macular degeneration, an age-related disease “that gradually destroys sharp, central vision,” according to the National Eye Institute.
“I can’t read scripts anymore because of the trouble with my eyes. And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like me telling a story,” the “James Bond” actress told the Mirror, adding that she could not see the reporter’s face, just his outline.
The Daily Mirror reported the disease can “lead to blindness,” which it can, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. This led other outlets to speculate that this would be Dench’s fate.
But now the Oscar winner has released a statement, saying reports of her impending blindness have been “overblown.”
“In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition — macular degeneration — I do not wish for this to be overblown,” Dench said in a statement to Reuters. “This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with. It's something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to — and it will not lead to blindness.”
Thankfully, it is true that Dench has no plans to retire from acting. “I’m very conscious that I’m in the minority in that I love what I do,” Dench told the Mirror. “How big is the number of people who are running to work to do a job that they like? And how lucky to be employed at it – how incredibly lucky.”