Background: Cadherins orchestrate tissue morphogenesis by controlling cell adhesion, migration and differentiation. Various cadherin family members are expressed in the retina and other neural tissues during embryogenesis, regulating development of these tissues. Cadherin-11 (Cdh11) is expressed in mesenchymal, bone, epithelial, neural and other tissues, and this cadherin was shown to control cell migration and differentiation in neural crest, tumor and bone cells. Our previous studies characterized Cdh11 expression and function in zebrafish. Results: Here, we report effects of Cdh11 loss-of-function on visual system development using morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown methods. Cdh11 is expressed in the retina and lens during retinal differentiation. Cdh11 loss-of-function produced defects in retinal differentiation and lens development. Cdh11 loss-of-function also reduced retinotectal axon projection and organization, consistent with known Cdh11 function in cell migration. Conclusion: Cdh11 expression in the developing visual system and Cdh11 loss-of-function phenotype illustrates the critical role for differential cadherin activity in visual system differentiation and organization. Developmental Dynamics 241:442–454, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.