With the recent progress in identifying disease-causing genes in humans and in animal models, there are more and more opportunities for using retinal gene transfer to learn more about retinal physiology and also to develop therapies for blinding disorders. Success in preclinical studies for one form of inherited blindness have led to testing in human clinical trials. This paves the way to consider a number of other retinal diseases as ultimate gene therapy targets in human studies. The information presented here is designed to assist scientists and clinicians to use gene transfer to probe the biology of the retina and/or to move appropriate gene-based treatment studies from the bench to the clinic. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.