A poet at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) has developed a machine that allows legally blind people who have at least some healthy retina left to see images that the machine projects and focuses in their eyes. It has been tested on at least 10 legally blind people with good results.
An analogy would be a hearing aid for (partially) deaf people. A partially deaf person's hearing does respond to sound but in many cases it requires significant amplification first, which is what the hearing aid does. In this visual system, the machine provides amplification and focusing of light instead. Pretty neat! Maybe this has been done before since it seems to be a pretty obvious solution to the problem, but if it hasn't, then the lead designer (Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies) deserves even more credit.
Here is a link to the MIT press office write-up.