The Oscar-winning actor Dame Judi Dench has spoken of how her failing eyesight has left her unable to read scripts and struggling to watch films.
Dench suffers from macular degeneration, an age-related condition that leads to a gradual loss of vision, which her mother also had.
But the actor, 79, who has notched up 95 award nominations during her illustrious career, balked at suggestions her career would slow down because of failing health.
She told the Hollywood Reporter: "I never want to make much of it, but it is difficult – very, very difficult.
"I can't read anymore. I can't paint like I used to. I try to watch movies, but it's quite difficult. But these are all of the negatives. I don't want to really think about all that. What I can do, I do. And I somehow get by."
Even before her eyesight began to decline, Dench preferred to have others read her scripts to her, as Steve Coogan did in her recent film Philomena, which has earned the actress an Oscar nomination.
But Dench, who has recently undergone surgery on her knee, insists she has no plans to retire.
"I heard a woman being interviewed on the radio the other day who was 105, and I expected this very frail voice, but this wonderful voice came out and she said to this reporter who was interviewing her, 'I'll tell you one thing,' she said, 'Don't stop anything. I never stop anything I'm doing because otherwise I'll never get started again.' And I thought, 'That'll do."'
Since making her professional acting debut at the Old Vic in 1957, Dench has become one of Britain and Hollywood's most acclaimed actors. The Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – a longstanding fan – launched her career on the big screen nearly half a century later when she was 63 after seeing her in John Madden's Mrs Brown.
Their partnership has been one of Hollywood's big success stories, with Weinstein distributing six of Dench's seven Oscar-nominated films: Mrs Brown, Shakespeare in Love, Chocolat, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents and now Philomena.