In order to correlate laser damaging fluence with the pertinent theoretical considerations, there were many attempts in the past to establish reliable damage predicting criterion. Such criterion then could be used to estimate laser fluence that triggers the damage process in various optical materials. For example, reaching of materials critical property such as - temperature (melting point), - thermoelastic stress, - electron density are good examples. On the other hand, however, it is already clear that damage mechanism is irradiation condition (wavelengths, pulse duration) and material property dependent. There are no physical restrictions of causing damage by reaching critical stress without critical electron density and vice versa. Accordingly, total absorbed energy or absorbed energy density is likely more suited candidate of universal damage criteria as a common denominator for all critical processes. To our best knowledge, it was never estimated experimentally in the vicinity of the damaging fluence of optical materials. In this study, we present a novel approach based on pump- probe digital holographic microscopy that enables quantitative assessment of absorbed energy during the damage process in transparent dielectric media. By using this method, a case study is conducted in fused silica glass with sharply focused infrared laser pulses at 1030 nm central wavelength and 450 fs pulse duration. By doing so we were able to estimate energy fraction of the incident pulse that is needed to trigger optical damage.