In an interview released earlier today, Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench has revealed she is battling macular degeneration, an eye condition that could result in total blindness.

77-year-old Dench's eye sight was already not very good.  According to Dench, she's had trouble reading her scripts for a while now, relying on friends and family to help out,

"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.

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

A condition like this would most certainly limit Dench's acting possibilities, likely eliminating her from her most well-known role as James Bond's boss M.  Dench has played the head of MI6 since Pierce Brosnan's first Bond film "Goldeneye", appearing in every film since, including the upcoming "Skyfall".  The news of Dench's eyesight problems adds more fuel to the rumors that the upcoming films will be Dench's final James Bond film, with Ralph Fiennes, who is confirmed for an unnamed role in "Skyfall", taking over in the next film.

This is very sad news.  Judi Dench is not only an amazing actress, but one of my favorite parts of the James Bond films.  But at 77-years-old, it might be time for her hang it up and retire.  Ralph Fiennes is a terrific choice to be the new M, but part of me hoped they'd continue with a female head of MI6 and see Helen Mirren take over.  Where Judi Dench had a motherly relationship with Brosnan and Craig as Bond, I could see some serious sexual tension between Mirren and Craig.