There are vibrant developments of optical imaging systems and contrast-enhancing methods that are geared to enhancing surgical vision and the outcome of surgical procedures. Such optical technologies designed for intraoperative use can offer high integration in the operating room compared to conventional radiological modalities adapted to intraoperative applications. Simple fluorescence epi-illumination imaging, in particular, appears attractive but may lead to inaccurate observations due to the complex nature of photon-tissue interaction. Of importance therefore are emerging methods that account for the background optical property variation in tissues and can offer accurate, quantitative imaging that eliminates the appearance of false negatives or positives. In parallel, other nonfluorescent optical imaging methods are summarized and overall progress in surgical optical imaging applications is outlined. Key future directions that have the potential to shift the paradigm of surgical health care are also discussed.