Particle sensing in optical tweezers systems provides information on the position, velocity, and force of the specimen particles. The conventional quadrant detection scheme is applied ubiquitously in optical tweezers experiments to quantify these parameters. In this paper, we show that quadrant detection is nonoptimal for particle sensing in optical tweezers and propose an alternative optimal particle sensing scheme based on spatial homodyne detection. A formalism for particle sensing in terms of transverse spatial modes is developed and numerical simulations of the efficacies of both quadrant and spatial homodyne detection are shown. We demonstrate that 1 order of magnitude improvement in particle sensing sensitivity can be achieved using spatial homodyne over quadrant detection.