Judi Dench admits health condition has forced her to give up driving: 'One of the most traumatic moments of my life'

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench is one of the most celebrated actresses of her generation.

But, proving that celebrities are just like the rest of us, she's revealed in recent years that she's been suffering with a debilitating health condition.

84-year-old Judi shared that she struggles with age-related macular degeneration, which can causes blurred, little, or even no vision in the centre of the eye.

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Speaking to the Radio Times, the Victoria & Abdul star explained that there are an array of things she can no longer do, due to not being able to see as well as she used to.

Judi explained “I can’t read the paper now, I can’t do the crossword, I can’t read a book,”

But the actress went on to reveal that one of the most tramatic moments of the condition was when it forced her to give up driving a few years ago.

However, Judi revealed that it was a decision she had to make, in order to ensure the safety of herself and others.

She said, “A couple of years ago I stopped driving, which was one of the most traumatic moments of my life. It was absolutely appalling. But I just know I’ll kill somebody if I get behind the wheel of a car now.”

In the interview, Judi Dench confessed that she isn't sure what the prognosis of her age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is, and that she'd rather not know or ask, as there is no current cure.

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“There’s nothing you can do. You adapt to it. So I ignore it altogether.”

According to the Macular Society, it's estimated that around 600,000 people in the UK are affected by AMD, and most types of the condition are not treatable.

The society has highlighted the importance for an increase in spending on the disease, given that in 2016, just £6 million was spent on research treatments for AMD, out of £22.7 million for eye disease medical research in general.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.