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A model that is sufficiently general to describe the predominant statistical characteristics of the output of many real optical detectors is formulated. This model is used to study the optimum receiver processing for direct-detection optical communication systems. In particular, the structures of detectors and estimators for randomly filtered doubly stochastic Poisson processes observed in additive white Gaussian noise are considered. Representations for the posterior statistics of a vector-valued Markov process that modulates the intensity of the doubly stochastic Poisson process are obtained. Quasi-optimum estimators and detectors are specified in general terms and specialized for several important applications. These include a demodulator for subcarrier angle modulation, a detector structure for binary signaling with known intensities, and a detector structure for binary signaling in the turbulent atmosphere.