At the grand old age of 88, there are few things Dame Judi Dench hasn’t accomplished in her long and storied career.
After making her professional debut in 1957, Dench rose to be regarded as one of greatest actresses to come out of Britain, and her successes both on stage and on screen speak for themselves.
Sadly, the years are beginning to take their toll on the iconic performer, arguably best known for her role as M. in the James Bond franchise. For over a decade, the Academy Award winner has been fighting a battle with a crippling condition that affects her eyes.
Known as macular degeneration, the disease blurs the central vision of its sufferers. Since it’s degenerative, those living with it usually experience significant vision loss and, in extreme cases, blindness within ten years.
Dench has gone on record in the past concerning her struggles with the condition, which she was diagnosed with in 2012.
”In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition – macular degeneration- I do not wish for this to be overblown,” she told ET at the time.
”This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with…and it’s something I have learnt to cope with and adapt to — and it will not lead to blindness.”
Earlier this year, the actress told the Daily Mirror: “I can’t see on a film set anymore, and I can’t see to read. So I can’t see much. But you know, you just deal with it. Get on.”
Given the fact her eyesight is likely to deteriorate further over the coming years, it makes sense to assume that Dench has adopted a new perspective when it comes to appreciating the things many of us take for granted.
Recently, the Victoria & Abdul star embarked on a journey to Scotland, accompanied by her grandson, Sam, to fulfill a wish she’s had almost her entire life: to witness a golden eagle flying in the wild.
As part of the BBC’s Countryfile show, Judi and Sam joined wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin on an adventure to locate and survey one of the majestic birds in their natural habitat.
The resulting footage made for a somewhat tearjerking watch. With the help of a monitor, Dench was able to see two golden eagles flying close to a kestrel.
Clearly emotional, the actress told Yassin: “I could see one and you are a witness to seeing that I saw it… (I’m) very overcome… It’s an enormous privilege, don’t you (think)?”
She later added: “How brilliant. And I keep that (the video) and show it?
“I never quite thought it would happen. (I believed) well, we’ll go out and we’ll be looking. They won’t (appear)… We saw them… thank you so much.”
When the Countryfile show aired, fans flocked to pay tribute to Dench, with many sending well wishes and prayers after hearing about her ongoing health battle.
“So sorry to hear about your eyes Jesus heal her eye heal her completely amen,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Prayers,” added another.
She has great talent,” a third wrote, “prayers for her.”
A fourth wrote: It was such a lovely moment when Judi saw the golden eagle, I cried watching her emotion. She’s always been my favourite actress I love her love and fun of life she is a true inspiration.”
Needless to say, we’re joining Dame Judi Dench’s supporters in hoping that she can live the next few years in comfort, without her condition worsening to an extent where her life is seriously impacted.
Share this article on social media if you, too, want to send prayers in Judi Dench’s direction.
If you found this article interesting, check out the latest news on Celine Dion, who’s also facing a serious health battle at the moment. As per reports, her family have confirmed the worst, insisting the legendary singer’s illness is “impossible to control”.