The Drosophila eye is a polarized epithelium in which ommatidia of opposing chirality fall on opposite sides of the eye's midline, the equator. The equator is established in at least two steps: photoreceptors R3 and R4 adopt their fates, and then ommatidia rotate clockwise or counterclockwise in accordance with the identity of these photoreceptors. We report the role of two cadherins, Fat (Ft) and Dachsous (Ds), in conveying the polarizing signal from the D/V midline in the Drosophila eye. In eyes lacking Ft, the midline is abolished. In ft and ds mutant clones, wild-type tissue rescues genetically mutant tissue at the clonal borders, giving rise to ectopic equators. These ectopic equators distort a mosaic analysis of these genes and led to the possible misinterpretation that ft and ds are required to specify the R3 and R4 cell fates, respectively. Our interpretation of these data supports a significantly different model in which ft and ds are not necessarily required for fate determination. Rather, they are involved in long-range signaling during the formation of the equator, as defined by the presence of an organized arrangement of dorsal and ventral chiral ommatidial forms.