Laser damage resistance is a key factor for the improvement of high power laser system. The PETAL laser, developed by the CEA-CESTA (France), uses meter scale reflective optics to compress, transport and focalize sub-picosecond laser pulses at 1053nm with high-energy . In the case of defect-free material, laser-induced damage in the sub-picosecond regime is known to be deterministic since the threshold depends only on the electronic structure of the irradiated materials, the pulse duration and the enhancement of the electric fields in thin film coatings. Based on this consideration, a mono-shot technique has been investigated to assess the intrinsic damage resistance of optical component with only one laser shot. On the other hand, while considering real optical components, manufacturing processes included nanoscale defects in the functional coating. These defects can be ejected when irradiated and strongly reduce the laser damage resistance of optics: rasterscan procedure has then been developed to determine defect-induced damage densities. These densities are found to be high even for fluences well below the intrinsic Laser-Induced Damage Threshold and they increase with the fluence. These experiments bring new information on the operating characteristics of optics in short pulse regime. Once damage is triggered, its evolution under subsequent irradiations has also been studied. Growth experiments have been compared to numerical simulations. The investigations on growth behavior allow a better estimation of the functional lifetime of an optic in its operating conditions. The whole of results, damage initiation and damage growth, is discussed to the light of the laser damage observed on PETAL optics.