Who Do You Think You Are? star Judi Dench 'laughs off failing eyesight health problems'

Dame Judi Dench laughs off eyesight concerns, vows to keep acting

Dame Judi, 86, has no intention of retiring, it seems

Acting legend Dame Judi Dench has reportedly laughed off concerns about her eyesight health.

The 86-year-old star was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2012. Her mother also suffered with gradual worsening of her vision.

However, it seems Dame Judi – whose ancestry is investigated in Who Do You Think You Are? – will never retire.

Dame Judi Dench recalls issues presented by her sight problems
Dame Judi Dench was diagnosed in 2012 (Credit: British Vogue YouTube)

What is macular degeneration and how has Judi Dench been affected by the health condition?

Macular degeneration is a medical condition which can lead to blurred vision and even blindness.

Nonetheless it can be very debilitating and make it hard for those suffering with it to recognise faces, drive or read.

Judi has revealed her failing eyesight has had a big impact on her life, requiring treatment every six weeks.

Read more: Who Do You Think You Are? Meet the new participants of series 18

In 2019 she told Surrey Life magazine she hopes it will not prevent her from being mobile.

However, it has affected her ability to go to the cinema. And it was also reportedly the reason why Judi was unable to travel to India to film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015.

Dame Judi Dench is 86
Dame Judi Dench is 86 (Credit: SplashNews.com)

How Judi Dench deals with her ‘failing eyesight’

Earlier this year, Judi expressed her determination to continue working despite her eyesight problems. And she has continued to do so with great humour.

She joked during an online event how the deterioration in her sight has lead to her delivering lines in the completely opposite direction to where her fellow actors are on stage.

I kept going up to the wrong person, having a conversation, and they’d say: ‘I’m not who you think I am.’

She also explained: “You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that 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 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!”

Judi Dench was diagnosed in 2012
The pandemic has complicated matters further (Credit: Lorraine YouTube)

Will Dame Judi Dench retire?

Speaking about her new film Belfast last week, Judi reaffirmed her intention to carry on working. She told the Daily Mail: “Retirement is not a word used in my house.”

However, filming during the pandemic did present her with additional challenges exacerbated by her sight issues.

All cast and crew were required to wear masks until they said their lines. But Judi still reportedly found humour in the problems she experienced due to the situation.

She explained: “I kept going up to the wrong person, having a conversation, and they’d say: ‘I’m not who you think I am.'”

What will viewers find out about Judi Dench on Who Do You Think You Are?

According to previews for the second episode of the latest BBC series, Judi discovers her heritage extends back to Danish royalty.

Fittingly, a link between her ancestors and William Shakespeare is also made.

Read more: The One Show viewers in hysterics as Dame Judi Dench describes accidentally flashing pal on Skype

Last week’s episode saw comedian Josh Widdicombe find out he is a descendant of Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn.

Who Do You Think You Are? airs on BBC One tonight, Tuesday October 19, at 9pm.

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer