The 79-year-old actress, who has just landed her seventh Oscar nomination for her role in Philomena, suffers from macular degeneration — an age-related disease that causes a gradual loss of central vision.
"I never want to make much of it, but it is difficult — very, very difficult," Judi told The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
The defiant Dame added that her fading eyesight would not put an end to her acting career that has spanned more than four decades.
"It's the rudest word in my dictionary, 'retire,'" she said. "And 'old' is another one. I don't allow that in my house.
"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.
"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.'"
British film icon Judi, who is also known for her theatrical projects with the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company, has been nominated for the best Actress in a Leading Role category. Audiences will find out the Oscar winners during the Sunday 2 March ceremony.
When the North Yorkshire-born actress found out about the nomination, she said, "This is just the loveliest news. I'm so happy for everybody involved, and so proud to have been part of the wonderful experience that Philomena has been."
Judi has one daughter who is also a trained actress from her marriage to Michael Williams. The Liverpool-born actor passed away in 2001 from cancer.