Dame Judi Dench has revealed she can no longer read scripts after being diagnosed with a condition that can lead to blindness.
The actress has revealed she is suffering from macular degeneration, a disease of the retina that causes a progressive loss of eyesight, and said she can no longer see faces in front of her.
She said that her eyesight has become so bad that she now relies on friends to read scripts to her.
However, she said she hoped recent treatment had stopped the progressive decline.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Mirror, she said: "I can't read scripts any more before because of the trouble with my eyes and so somebody comes and reads them to me, like telling me a story."
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is results in loss of the centre of the visual field due to damage to a part of the retina called the macular, most commonly affects people over 50 and affects almost 240,000 people in the UK.
It is the leading cause of sight loss in the western world and is the reason behind more than half of registrations for blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
Macular degeneration can take two forms – either "dry", the most common kind which affects the eyes gradually, or "wet", which comes on quickly.
Dame Judi, 77, said: "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."
The actress said the most distressing aspect of the condition was not being able to see the person she was having dinner with in a restaurant.
She said: "What I miss are people corpsing on stage. I know there might be something going on, but sometimes I can't see it and that infuriates me as I think I'm missing out on something."
But she said she was determined not to let the condition beat her.
She added: "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 can't see anything."
Dame Judi, who said she has no plans to retire, made her name on stage and in television.
Dame Judi said: "I'm very conscious that I'm in the minority in that I love what I do. How big is the number of people who are running to work to do a job that they like?"
Source: The Telegraph