The growing need for high data-rate communication both through the atmosphere and the ocean (sub-sea) has stimulated considerable interest in optical wireless communication (OWC) technologies. The main advantages of OWC as compared with RF communication in the atmosphere and with acoustic communication in sub-sea applications are a) high achievable data-rate, b) small size of equipment and c) low power-consumption. On the other hand the characteristics of the communication channel in both scenarios are stochastic with high values of variance, which severely degrades OWC communication system performance. In this paper we present a tutorial discussing the effects of random media on OWC and expand on two examples: Monte-Carlo simulation for sub-sea communication and mathematical synthesis using Meijer G-function for OWC through atmospheric turbulence. These two examples demonstrate that it is possible to gain significant insights on the effects of the random channel on system performance. The results of the different analysis methods could also indicate solutions for the improvement of performance using adaptive solutions or for extending the communication range by applying a multi-hop concept. We summarize the paper with a brief review of two emerging research fields that could, surprisingly, benefit from the characteristics of light propagation through random media and its effect on the communication system performance. The first research field is trans-cutaneous OWC and the second is an unguided optical communication bus for next-generation computers.