The primary aim of this review is to survey the literature on the ion sensing ability of quantum dots. Sensing of both cations and anions is important, since both play significant roles in various ecological and biological processes, which makes it important to ensure their concentration at balanced level. Contamination by heavy metal ions and various anions poses a serious threat to humans, aquatic organisms, and to the environment; therefore detection of these ions (in presence of other cations and anions), which are the major cause of environmental pollution is of immense significance at the present time. Owing to their enhanced fluorescence properties and photostability, QDs offer tremendous scope to be used for ion sensing. They offer several advantages over traditional chemical fluorophores. This review throws light on the mechanism adopted by CdSe QDs to act as flourophores. Owing to their enhanced photoluminescence properties, QDs offer selective and sensitive determination of various ions, which is a function of the capping on the surface of the QD nanosensor, i.e. it is possible to tune their sensing ability by changing the capping layer, which influences the QD's interaction with various analytes. Hence, these quantum dots may prove promising candidates in future for sensing approximately all types of analytes.