Reading scripts ‘impossible’ with vision loss

Judi Dench is opening up about her worsening eye condition.

Dench, 88, was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration (AMD) in 2012 and shared that she has been struggling with the loss of her vision.

While appearing on “The Graham Norton Show,” the Oscar winner admitted that she has found it to be harder and harder to read scripts and learn her lines — something she used to find very easy.

“It has become impossible and because I have a photographic memory,” she said. “I need to find a machine that not only teaches me my lines but also tells me where they appear on the page.”

Her photographic memory used to come in handy when memorizing scripts.

“I used to find it very easy to learn lines and remember them,” the Dame said. “I could do the whole of ‘Twelfth Night’ right now.”

Judi Dench was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration (AMD) in 2012.
REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

AMD is a common condition and the leading cause of vision loss in older adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2019, 19.8 million Americans aged 40 and older were living with AMD.

The Oscar winner revealed during a 2021 conversation with Vision Foundation that she asks her friends to help her with lines by reading them out loud to her.

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench admitted that she has found it to be “impossible” to read scripts and learn her lines.
John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI

“You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that you find very difficult,” Dench said at the time. “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!”

But not even loss of vision can stop Dame Judi Dench.

In 2022, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Belfast.” She also made an appearance in Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds’ Christmas movie “Spirited” and is currently promoting the new film she stars in, “Allelujah.”