British actress Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench has responded to media speculation that she is going blind. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Actress Judi Dench has responded to widespread reports that she will be permanently blinded by an eye affliction she confessed to having in a recent interview with the Mirror.

The 77-year-old actress said she was suffering from macular degeneration, a hereditary condition that usually strikes later in life and can cause blind spots.

In the Mirror interview, Dame Judi said she could no longer read scripts, or make out people's faces.

I can't read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes, Dench said. And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story.

It's usually my daughter or my agent or a friend and actually I like that, because I sit there and imagine the story in my mind, she continued.

She told the reporter that she could see his outline, but not his face.

The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening I can't see the person I'm having dinner with.

Actually, what I miss are people corpsing on stage, she added. (Corpsing means unintentionally breaking out of character while in a live performance).

I know there might be something going on but sometimes I can't see it and that infuriates me as I think I'm really missing out on something.

After numerous media sources reported that Dench was on her way to becoming blind, the award-winning actress emailed a statement of clarification to Reuters.

In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition -- macular degeneration -- I do not wish for this to be overblown, Dench wrote.

This condition is something that thousands and thousands of people all over the world are having to contend with. It's something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to -- and it will not lead to blindness.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects the part of the eye that allows humans to see detail and affects only central, not peripheral, vision. According to the National Eye Institute, the disease is most commonly associated with people age 60 or older.

Nearly one third of Britons 75 or over have the condition, according to Britain's National Health Service.

AMD occurs in wet and dry forms; with wet being more serious than dry.

Dench has both forms.

I had wet in one eye and dry in the other, and [doctors] had to do these injections and I think it's arrested it. I hope so, she said.