Though she recently declared old age to be just a number “imposed” upon the elderly, Dame Judi Dench now admits that she can no longer travel alone for fear of bumping into things.
The much-loved actress, who recently filmed The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India, said last week that her eyesight has now deteriorated to the extent that she needs a chaperone to stop her falling over “like a mad, drunk lady” and she can no longer read her own scripts.
The Oscar-winner, now 80, has been battling age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness, since 2012 and has to rely on friends and family to help her learn her lines.
AMD is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye which is called the macula and causes problems with central vision.
There are two main types of AMD, “wet” and “dry” based on the appearance of the eye. Dry AMD is by far the most common form of the disease and there is no treatment. However sight-saving treatment exists for wet AMD if it is diagnosed in time. Dame Judi has dry AMD in one eye and wet AMD in the other.
Symptoms vary but usually the first problem sufferers notice is an inability to see fine detail. Central vision may become blurred, straight lines become curvy, distorted or wavy and small print becomes unclear, even when wearing reading glasses.