The surface-damage resistance of fused silica was enhanced 2.8-fold by removing a subsurface damage. For the conventionally polished fused silica surface, μm-scale subsurface damage and a shallow (20 nm to 100 nm) structurally modified zone produced during grinding and polishing were formed on the top of surface. Several surface etching techniques and super-precise polishing process were used to remove subsurface damage from a fused silica surface. First the conventionally polished surfaces were chemically etched in a buffered HF solution to remove 300μm of surface material, and then super-precise polishing was performed to obtain an optical surface. After that, the polishing compound was removed by using ion-beam etching. The effect of subsurface damage on laser damage resistance was characterized by the measuring of the laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT) for the laser radiations of 1064 nm and 266 nm respectively. For the wavelength of 1064 nm, the effect of the removal of subsurface damage wasn't clearly seen, although the enhancement of surface-damage resistance by the ion-beam etching could be confirmed. However, in the case of 266 nm, enhanced LIDT of 28 J/cm2 was obtained from the subsurface damage removed surface. The surface LIDT increased by 2.8 times compared to that of conventionally polished fused silica surfaces.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.