Dame Judi Dench recalls being asked to play Ophelia
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In a 2021 charity event, the critically acclaimed actress described how she copes with her deteriorating eyesight, including the unexpected advantages. The star characteristically finds the funny side in her situation, but for the other 600,000 people in the UK who suffer from the condition, AMD can make everyday activities extremely difficult and it can go on to affect multiple generations in one family.
Gracing the Cheltenham Film Festival with her attendance next week, Dame Judi still seems to be coping relatively well with the condition, which usually first affects people in their 50s and 60s.
In fact, at a 2021 charity event when talking about the challenges she faced, flagyl s 200mg 5ml oral suspension Dame Judi said: “You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that you find very difficult.
“I’ve had to find another way of learning lines and things, which is having great friends of mine repeat them to me over and over, and over again.
“So I have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless!”
Having to completely learn a new way of acting and learning lines, the star has also had to change numerous matters in her private life, including driving, which she called “traumatic” and “appalling”.
On this, she added: “I can’t read the paper now, I can’t do the crossword, I can’t read a book. A couple of years ago I stopped driving…
“I just know I’ll kill somebody if I get behind the wheel of a car now.”
Although she is adamant to remain as “independent” as she possibly can, the 87-year-old added that it is becoming “very, very difficult” to do, especially as she lives alone.
Despite never confirming, the actress suffered from a “frightful fall” a couple of years ago, which may have been down to her inability to see clearly.
Reflecting on the incident, Dame Judi said: “I had a frightful fall not long ago. I tripped over the carpet, and there was nobody in the house and I was lying on the ground unable to get up for half an hour.”
When AMD strikes, it usually affects the middle part of an individual’s vision first. It can affect either one or both of the eyes and can make activities such as watching TV, reading or driving extremely difficult.
Other symptoms may include:
- Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
- Objects looking smaller than normal
- Colours seeming less bright than they used to
- Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).
There are two main types of AMD, one which is most common, dry AMD, and a more less common type, wet AMD.
The three stages are named as such due to the symptoms that gradually get worse as the condition develops.
- Early dry AMD doesn’t cause any symptoms.
- Intermediate dry AMD, some people still have no symptoms. Others may notice mild symptoms, like mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting.
- Late AMD (wet or dry type), many people notice that straight lines start to look wavy or crooked. You may also notice a blurry area near the centre of your vision. Over time, this blurry area may get bigger or you may see blank spots. Colours may also seem less bright than before, and you may have more trouble seeing in low lighting.
Dry AMD happens in three stages: early, intermediate, and late. It usually progresses slowly over several years. Once in the late stage of dry AMD there is no treatment, but individuals are able to find ways to make the most of remaining vision. Additionally, if you have late dry AMD in only one eye, you can take steps to protect your other eye.
Wet AMD causes vision loss to go faster in comparison to dry AMD. This occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye and damage the macula. It is important to note that at any stage of dry AMD, it can turn into wet AMD — but wet AMD is always in the late stage. However, there are treatment options available for wet AMD.
In order to diagnose the condition properly, individuals will have to go to an optometrist. There, a magnifying glass with a light will be used to look at the back of their eyes and check their vision.
Depending on the type of AMD an individual is diagnosed with, treatment options may differ. For dry AMD, although there is no treatment, vision aids can help reduce the effect on your life. These can include:
- Useful devices – such as magnifying lenses
- Changes you can make to your home – such as brighter lighting
- Software and mobile apps that can make computers and phones easier to use.
For wet AMD, individuals are typically offered regular eye injections or a light treatment called photodynamic therapy, both of which aim to stop vision from getting any worse.
Injections are given directly into the eyes and are usually given every one to three months. They are relatively effective with nine out of 10 people saying that it stopped their vision from getting worse, and improved the vision of three out of 10. Light treatment involves shining a light to the back of the eyes to destroy abnormal blood vessels that cause wet AMD. This usually needs to be repeated every few months.
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