Judi Dench Says Her Eyesight Is Failing: "I Can't See On a Film Set Anymore"

The Belfast star says she's having a hard time reading scripts and seeing on set.

Dame Judi Dench earned her eighth Oscar nomination in 2021 and since then, she's been increasingly candid about her ongoing battle with macular degeneration. Though medical professionals say it's rare that people with the condition go completely blind, it's very common for those with the disease to go legally blind—something Dench says she's now nearing. In a recent interview with The Daily Mirror, Dench said she can't see much on a film set anymore.

"I mean I can't see on a film set any more," Dench told the tabloid. "And I can't see to read. So I can't see much. But you know you just deal with it. Get on. It's difficult for me if I have any length of a part. I haven't yet found a way. Because I have so many friends who will teach me the script. But I have a photographic memory."

It's not the first time Dench has spoke about her condition this year, previously revealing on The Graham Norton Show she has had to ask people to read her scripts to her in recent years. She was first diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration in 2012.

"It's become impossible because I can't see now, I can not read or anything," she said on the talk show. "Normally somebody could just teach you the lines, and goodness knows that's happened before, but now I've just found I have a photographic memory."

Dench's latest role came in Apple TV+'s Spirited, appearing as herself alongside Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. Before that, her films included Allelujah (2022) and Belfast (2021), where she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Dench is set to turn 89 this December.

She has one Oscar win under her belt—for 1998's Shakespeare in Love—and countless other awards.