Relax, Everyone: Judi Dench Isn’t Going Blind
It’s okay, everyone! Dame Judi Dench isn’t going blind! Hoorah!
Talk about drama: Over the weekend, news broke that Dame Judi Dench, one of our favorite ladies to master the art of aging gracefully, is going blind! Oh noes! Tragedy!
But relax, everyone; it’s okay. She’s not really. Thank goodness for that! Dame Judi, you see, has been diagnosed with macular degeneration, a condition that can sometimes plague older people. Roughly 30 percent of people between the ages of 75 to 85 years of age have it, and as Dame Judi is 77, she falls right into the primary demographic for it. Though macular degeneration does result in hindered eyesight, it doesn’t cause total blindness.
An interview in UK tabloid The Mirror quoted Dame Judi as saying that she has trouble reading scripts now and that she sometimes can’t make out the details of peoples’ faces; “The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening, I can’t see the person I’m having dinner with,” she said. She also noted that she really misses being able to see actors “corpsing”—that is, breaking character—onstage when she goes to the theatre. No doubt it’s difficult to cope with; “I know there might be something going on,” she said, “but sometimes, I can’t see it and it infuriates me as I think I’m really missing out on something.” Ouch. How frustrating.
Naturally, the media took this story and ran with it, claiming that the actress is going blind. But happily, she’s not! Shortly after the whole to-do went live, she released a statement: “In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition—macular degeneration—I do not wish for this to be overblown. This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with, and it’s something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to—and it will not lead to blindness.” Furthermore, she has no plans to stop acting, eyes be damned! “As long as there is a possibility of working,” she said, “I’m not going to retire. If I retire, nothing will work anymore, and it’s hard enough as it is.” Besides, she can combat the effects of the condition with lenses, glasses, and bright sunlight.
Hoorah for that! Keep on keepin’ on, Dame Judi!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.