Dench, 77, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, was diagnosed with macular degeneration but has said that she does not want the reporting of this to be overblown.

“This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people across the world are having to contend with. It is something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to – and it will not lead to blindness,” the British actress has said in a statement.

The famously media-shy actress spoke of her eye condition in an interview with The Daily Mirror newspaper, in which she revealed that she often has her scripts read to her now, frequently by her agent of daughter, due to the trouble she has with her vision.

“I like that,” she says of the situation.” I sit there and imagine the story in my mind.”

Dench can next be seen on the big screen opposite Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, released Friday Feb 24.

Photo: Getty