The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first bionic eye implant for individuals suffering with rare genetic eye disease. The device, which received "clinical approval in Europe", is explained as such:
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the first implanted device to treat adult patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The device, which includes a small video camera, transmitter mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, video processing unit (VPU) and an implanted retinal prosthesis (artificial retina), replaces the function of degenerated cells in the retina (a membrane inside the eye) and may improve a patients ability to perceive images and movement. The VPU transforms images from the video camera into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to the retinal prosthesis.
The How Stuff Works website has a good write-up explaining how a "bionic eye" allows blind people to see.
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