The cellular mechanisms underlying organ formation are largely unknown. We visualized early vertebrate eye morphogenesis at single-cell resolution by in vivo imaging in medaka (Oryzias latipes). Before optic vesicle evagination, retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) modulate their convergence in a fate-specific manner. Presumptive forebrain cells converge toward the midline, whereas medial RPCs remain stationary, predetermining the site of evagination. Subsequent optic vesicle evagination is driven by the active migration of individual RPCs. The analysis of mutants demonstrated that the retina-specific transcription factor rx3 determines the convergence and migration behaviors of RPCs. Hence, the migration of individual cells mediates essential steps of organ morphogenesis.