The eye is an excellent target organ for gene therapy. It is physically isolated, easily accessible, immune-privileged, and postmitotic. Furthermore, potential gene therapies introduced into the eye can be evaluated by noninvasive methods such as fundoscopy, electroretinography, and optical coherence tomography. In the last two decades, great advances have been made in understanding the molecular underpinnings of retinal degenerative diseases. Building upon the development of modern techniques for gene delivery, many gene-based therapies have been effectively used to treat loss-of-function retinal diseases in mice and men. Significant effort has been invested into making gene delivery vehicles more efficient, less toxic, and non-immunogenic. However, one challenge for the treatment of more complex gain-of-function diseases, many of which might be benefited by the regulation of cellular stress-responsive signaling pathways, is the ability to control the strategy in a physiological (conditional) manner. This review is focused on promising retinal gene therapy strategies that rely on small molecule-based conditional regulation and the inherent limitations and challenges of these strategies that need to be addressed prior to their extensive use.