Dame Judi Dench discusses living with ‘intensely irritating’ eyesight problems

Dame Judi Dench has said she finds the problems with her eyesight “intensely irritating” but she has found ways to adapt.

The actress, 86, previously revealed that she has macular degeneration.

She made the comments about her eyesight during an event for the Vision Foundation sight loss charity, which was hosting an event honouring the late actor Sir John Mills.

Wildlife Ball fundraiser
(Ian West/PA)

Dame Judi said: “You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things you find very difficult.

“I’ve had to find another way of learning lines and things, which is having great friends of mine repeat them to me over and over again.

“So I have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless.”

Dame Judi said her mother also had macular degeneration and her daughter regularly has her eyes checked.

“It is intensely irritating, but it does enable you to do one thing and that is that you have to get very close to people before you can recognise who they are,” she said.

“During lockdown I made a film with Ken Branagh and I was up close addressing people wearing masks during rehearsals, nothing to do with any scene I’m in.”

She added she can “walk straight past” people she knows very well without noticing them.