In this review, the utility of polymers as disk substrates, surfacing/subbing layers, protective overcoatings, and ablative imaging layers in optical recording media is exemplified. Each of these applications may require specific different polymers. Amorphous polymers such as poly(methylmethacrylate) and poly(4-methylpentene-1) may be particularly advantageous as disk substrates. Specialty polymers may find application in surfacing/subbing layers which are used to perfect the disk surface and to provide an appropriate surface for the deposition of the imaging layer. Crosslinked siloxane elastomers have been widely used as protective overcoatings for ablative imaging layers. Depolymerizable polymers, polymers which solublize dyes, and polymers which are effective in the formation of homogeneous colloidal pigment or metal dispersions are essential in a promising new class of optical recording media, polymer/absorber composites.