Class I Basic Helix-Loop-Helix (bHLH) transcription factors form homodimers or heterodimers with class II bHLH proteins. While bHLH heterodimers are known to have diverse roles, little is known about the role of class I homodimers. In this manuscript, we show that a linked dimer of Daughterless (Da), the only Drosophila class I bHLH protein, activates Atonal (Ato) expression and retinal neuron differentiation synergistically with the retinal determination factor Eyeless (Ey). The HLH protein Extramacrocheate (Emc), which forms heterodimer with Da, antagonizes the synergistic activation from Da but not the Da-Da linked dimer with Ey. We show that Da directly interacts with Ey and promotes Ey binding to the Ey binding site in the Ato 3׳ enhancer. Interestingly, the Ey binding site in the Ato 3׳ enhancer contains an embedded E-box that is also required for the synergistic activation by Ey and Da. Finally we show that mammalian homologs of Ey and Da can functionally replace their Drosophila counterparts to synergistically activate the Ato enhancer, suggesting that the observed function is evolutionary conserved.