We describe an inverse numerical procedure that allows the analysis of scratches in brittle materials often used in optics manufacturing. The analysis assumes that materials deform by elastic/plastic mechanisms, i.e. no cracking, and that scratches are caused by spherical abrasives. As inputs we use the measured depth and width of surface scratches, and the micromechanical properties (elastic modulus, hardness, Poisson ratio) of the material surface. The outputs of the numerical procedure are estimates of the abrasive size and abrasive force (load) that caused the scratch in question. Materials we have examined to date are fused silica (FS), borosilicate glass (BK7), laser phosphate glass (LHG8), silicon (Si), and calcium fluoride (CaF2). The inverse analysis also may be used to answer the question: What must the abrasive size and load be in order to produce scratches shallower in depth and narrower in extent than a given design requirement?