This special issue of Optical Engineering is concerned with visual communications and image processing. The increase in communication of visual information over the past several decades has resulted in many new image processing and visual communication systems being put into service. The growth of this field has been rapid in both commercial and military applications. The objective of this special issue is to intermix advent technology in visual communications and image processing with ideas generated from industry, universities, and users through both invited and contributed papers. The 15 papers of this issue are organized into four different categories: image compression and transmission, image enhancement, image analysis and pattern recognition, and image processing in medical applications.