Optic vesicle formation, transformation into an optic cup and integration with neighboring tissues are essential for normal eye formation, and involve the coordinated occurrence of complex cellular and molecular events. Perhaps not surprisingly, these complex phenomena have provided fertile ground for controversial and even contradictory results and conclusions. After presenting an overview of current knowledge of optic vesicle development, we will address conceptual and methodological issues that complicate research in this field. This will be done through a review of the pertinent literature, as well as by drawing on our own experience, gathered through recent studies of both intra- and extra-cellular regulation of optic vesicle development and patterning. Finally, and without attempting to be exhaustive, we will point out some important aspects of optic vesicle development that have not yet received enough attention.