Continuous wave laser damage on optical components is a major problem encountered in the operation of high energy chemical lasers. Although the damage phenomena on cooled and uncooled optical components are very similar to those on pulsed laser devices, mechanisms of damage are different. Unlike pulsed laser systems, maintenance of optical figure due to thermal distortion becomes an important aspect of the complete optical train for a device that may be required to operate for a number of seconds. This paper deals with damage mechanisms on cooled and uncooled optical components and how the damage may be predicted. Further, predictive tools for determining the thermal and mechanical forces that operate on optical components to induce distortions in the optical train are evaluated.