The regulation of vertebrate eye development requires the activity of many transcription factors. In this report, we demonstrate that the T-box factor Tbx12 is necessary for normal development of the retina. Tbx12 is expressed during early stages of retinal development in multiple species of vertebrate embryos. We injected mRNAs encoding wild type and mutant forms of Tbx12 into Xenopus embryos. The Tbx12 injected embryos exhibit multiple defects in eye development including reduced eye size and disruption of normal retinal laminar organization. Tbx12 appears to function as a repressor of transcription during eye development. Our results indicate that Tbx12 activity is required for the proper generation and organization of retinal cells in the vertebrate eye.