Partial sight has been restored to six blind people via an implant that transmits video images directly to the brain.
Some vision was made possible – with the participants' eyes bypassed – by a video camera attached to glasses which sent footage to electrodes implanted in the visual cortex of the brain.
University College London lecturer and Optegra Eye Hospital surgeon Alex Shortt said it was a significant development by specialists from Baylor Medical College in Texas and the University of California Los Angeles.
"Previously all attempts to create a bionic eye focused on implanting into the eye itself. It required you to have a working eye, a working optic nerve," Shortt told the Daily Mail.
"By bypassing the eye completely you open the potential up to many, many more people.