Recent studies have indicated that non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) may play prominent and diverse roles in the development of the nervous system. These ncRNAs are now known to perform a broad range of cellular functions, and in particular appear to be prominent players in the regulation of transcription and translation. In this review, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the role of ncRNAs in vertebrate retinal development. Noncoding RNAs that are known or suspected to play a functional role in the specification and maturation of retinal cell subtypes include miRNAs, long noncoding opposite-strand transcripts (OSTs), and other long ncRNAs such as Tug1 and RNCR2. Though the mechanism of action of most of these ncRNAs is still largely unclear, it is likely that these molecules represent a major, and thus far largely unappreciated, component of the molecular machinery involved in retinal cell fate specification. Developmental Dynamics 238:2103–2114, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.