The nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily is composed of a wide range of receptors involved in a myriad of important biological processes, including development, growth, metabolism, and maintenance. Regulation of such wide variety of functions requires a complex system of gene regulation that includes interaction with transcription factors, chromatin-modifying complex, and the proper recognition of ligands. NHRs are able to coordinate the expression of genes in numerous pathways simultaneously. This review focuses on the role of nuclear receptors in the central nervous system and, in particular, their role in regulating the proper development and function of the brain and the eye. In addition, the review highlights the impact of mutations in NHRs on a spectrum of human diseases from autism to retinal degeneration.