With the advent of new optical materials a host of services can be provided through optical device technology which include voice, data, and visual communication. The realization of low loss optic fibers provide the option of long distance optical communication and the growth of information processing through computer technology by optical means is bound to occur. Heavy metal fluoride glasses have proved to be excellent hosts for both rare earth and 3d transition metal ions. At present the potential of the heavy metal fluoride glasses for ingrared transmission light guides is unexcelled with ultralow losses of the order of l0 db/km a distinct possibility if trace impurities can be removed. One potential complication of the utilization of these materials is the effect of radiation damage. Irradiation could produce defects detrimental to long range optical communication or laser action. Therefore a detailed study of irradiation effects in these materials is important. The purpose of this paper is to review some of the excellent work that has been done in this area and to provide a background on radiation effects in heavy metal fluoride glasses.