An active matrix emissive display (ED) is disclosed that also includes optical scanning capability. Each display pixel is independently addressable and independently internally driven for light generation. Each display pixel is also given the ability to be coupled to detection circuitry in order to sense currents or voltages that are optically generated or leaked by its internal LED when exposed to light (and thus acting in a photodiode capacity). Since the intensity of the light illuminating the diode determines the magnitude of generated currents and/or voltages or leakage current through the diode (when reverse biased), these sensed currents or voltages give an indication of the intensity of the light striking the pixel. In this manner, active matrix ED pixels are configured to serve the dual purpose of being able to generate and detect light.