In a large scale screen for genetic defects in zebrafish embryogenesis we identified 49 mutations affecting development of the retina. Based on analysis of living embryos as well as histological sections, we grouped the isolated mutations into six phenotypic categories. (1) Mutations in three loci result in a loss of wild-type laminar pattern of the neural retina. (2) Defects in four loci lead to an abnormal specification of the eye anlagen. Only one eye frequently forms in this class of mutants. (3) Seven loci predominantly affect development of the outer retinal layers. Mutants in this category display cell loss mainly in the photoreceptor cell layer. (4) Nine mutations cause retardation of eye growth without any other obvious abnormalities in the retina. (5) A group of twelve mutations is characterized by nonspecific retinal degeneration. (6) Four mutations display retinal degeneration associated with a pigmentation defect. Finally, two mutations, one with absence of the ventral retina and one with an eye-specific pigmentation defect, are not classified in any of the above groups. The identified mutations affect numerous aspects of eye development, including: specification of the eye anlage, growth rate of the optic cup, establishment of retinal stratification, specification or differentiation of retinal neurons and formation of the dorsoventral axis in the developing eye.