Melbourne researchers are on the brink of developing revolutionary technology to help the blind regain their sight.
The bionic eye is still undergoing trials but patients are already seeing results.
After being legally blind for almost 20 years, trial participant Dianne Ashworth steps were a milestone.
“That sense of freedom to be able to move around and know that you're safe to be able to do that,” she said.
“The benefits we've seen out of this research have surpassed anyone's expectations.”
Dianne relies on guide dog Sandy to keep her safe from the obstacles and dangers of daily life but that could be about to change..
“I remember the first time she could actually see her own dog that was quite a remarkable experience,” professor tony Burkett from the Bionics Institute said.
“It's not vision as you and I know it, it is quite pixelated vision but it does enable patients to put together what's in the image they're seeing.”
Through trialling a prototype of a bionic eye, Dianne has been able to see shapes and numbers.
Eventually she'll be able to read words even recognise faces all thanks to a small implant, which is wired to the camera she's wearing..
This pad of electrodes is implanted directly behind the eye, which converts signals from the camera into impulses which stimulate the optic nerve.
This action sends messages to the brain.. helping it to interpret objects and shapes..
The next step for researchers is to enhance the technology, so the brain can identify sharper pictures - and they plan to streamline the device, by wiring the camera into a simple pair of glasses.
Costing $200 million to develop it's hoped the bionic eye will be on the market within three to four years.