Oscar winner Judi Dench, of James Bond fame, battling blinding effects of macular degeneration (VIDEO)


Bond actress Judi Dench is in a battle to save her eyesight from macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for those aged 55 and older in the US.

Dench, 77, one of Britain's best-known actresses, told Britain's Daily Mirror that her eyesight was already so bad that she couldn't even read her own scripts and she was relying on friends and family to keep her up to speed with her lines.

“I can’t read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes," she said. "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.

“I've got what my ma had, macular degeneration, which you get when you get old.

"I had wet in one eye and dry in the other and they had to do these injections and I think it’s arrested it. I hope so."

Macular degeneration — the deterioration of the central portion of the retina — affects more than 10 million Americans, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.

According to Reuters, there are two basic types: "dry," which leaves people with blurry central vision, and "wet," a more serious type which can cause blindspots.

"Approximately 85 percent to 90 percent of the cases of macular degeneration are the "dry" (atrophic) type. Approximately 10-15 percent of the cases of macular degeneration are the "wet" (exudative) type."

Dench, who won an Oscar in 1998 for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love," told the Mirror that: "The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening I cant see the person I'm having dinner with. You get used to it. 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 cant see anything."

Dench said she had received treatment which she hoped would prevent further damage, and that she had no plans to retire.

Dench's latest role is in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," starring alongside Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel, NME reported.

Her seventh Bond film, "Skyfall," is due to be released later this year. 

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