In the past, retinal implants required a small external camera to capture light.
This implant captures light naturally throuh the eye's lens.
German doctors on Wednesday announced a breakthrough in retinal implants, the fledgling technology that aims to restore sight in people cursed by a form of inherited blindness.
Three patients fitted with the new device were able to see shapes and objects, and one was able to walk around a room by himself, approach people, read a clock face and distinguish between seven shades of gray.
The device "represents an unprecedented advance in electronic visual prostheses," the Royal Society, Britain's de-facto academy of sciences, said as one of its journals published the research.
"(It) could eventually revolutionize the lives of up to 200,000 people worldwide who suffer from blindness as a result of retinitis pigmentosa."
Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative disease in which light receptors in the retina, on the back of the eyeball, gradually cease to function.