Optical mouse An optical mouse is an advanced computer pointing device that uses a light-emitting diode (LED), an optical sensor, and digital signal processing (DSP) in place of the traditional mouse ball and electromechanical transducer. Movement is detected by sensing changes in reflected light, rather than by interpreting the motion of a rolling sphere.
The optical mouse takes microscopic snapshots of the working surface at a rate of more than 1,000 images per second. If the mouse is moved, the image changes. The tiniest irregularities in the surface can produce images well enough for the sensor and DSP to generate usable movement data. The best surfaces reflect but scatter light; an example is a blank sheet of white drawing paper. Some surfaces do not allow the sensor and DSP to function properly because the irregularities are too small to be detected. An example of a poor optical-mousing surface is unfrosted glass.
In practice, an optical mouse does not have the issues with debris build-up that the older, mechanical ball mice experience. However, if you experience some erratic mouse behavior, here a couple of things you can check:
Turn the mouse over and look at the light-emitting diode "LED" area
If there is a smudge on the lens area, gently clean with a plain cotton swab or plain q-tip.
If there is some debris in the lens area, gently blow the debris away from the lens area.