After being processed by an optical system, either in reflection or in transmission, a probe wavefront contains information on the induced aberrations that are conveniently reported by interferometry. Yet, the probe beam also includes diffuse light, mostly produced by scattering at the optical surfaces. The actual disturbance that is studied via interferometry is a partially developed speckle field, made of a strong bias phaser plus the weak random contribution due to scattering. The standard deviation of the random contribution, normalized to the modulus of the bias phaser, is assumed as a characteristic parameter of the speckle field. Such a parameter has been measured with digital phase-shift interferometric techniques on a series of selected samples, corresponding to different optical finish. In excess of 120 samples have been studied, referred to a traceable polishing process. The results are interpreted on the basis of available models of polishing mechanisms. Data fitting to the equation of the theory is reported; the results are in fair agreement with the theory.