Plant viral diseases result in productivity and economic losses to agriculture, necessitating accurate detection for effective control. Lab-based molecular testing is the gold standard for providing reliable and accurate diagnostics; however, these tests are expensive, time-consuming, and labour-intensive, especially at the field-scale with a large number of samples. Recent advances in optical remote sensing offer tremendous potential for non-destructive diagnostics of plant viral diseases at large spatial scales. This review provides an overview of traditional diagnostic methods followed by a comprehensive description of optical sensing technology, including camera systems, platforms, and spectral data analysis to detect plant viral diseases. The paper is organized along six multidisciplinary sections: (1) Impact of plant viral disease on plant physiology and consequent phenotypic changes, (2) direct diagnostic methods, (3) traditional indirect detection methods, (4) optical sensing technologies, (5) data processing techniques and modelling for disease detection, and (6) comparison of the costs. Finally, the current challenges and novel ideas of optical sensing for detecting plant viruses are discussed.