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 is an experienced digital journalist, currently working as Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on other women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. 

She is obsessive about everything homes and interiors—whether she's sniffing out the very best deal on a KitchenAid stand mixer or keeping up the latest Dyson release. And when she isn't editing or writing articles on interior trends or the latest home gadgets, she's passionate about books—you'll usually find her with her nose in a gripping thriller at the end of the working day.