Scientists at Retinal Implant have developed an eye implant that enables patients with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa to see shapes and objects.

The device, known as a sub-retinal implant, is placed underneath the retina and works by replacing light detectors that were destroyed due to the disease.

After detecting the light the implant uses the eye’s natural image processing functions to restore vision in the patient.

The device measures 3mm² and consists of 1,500 tiny sensors.

In a clinical trial the device enabled three blind patients to see objects and shapes within days of treatment.

The researchers plan to conduct clinical trials of the device in Europe involving 25-50 patients.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic eye condition that leads to blindness and affects 200,000 people worldwide.