The need for high heat load optics has its origin in high-energy laser systems designed in the 1970s and 1980s. The advancement of these systems to shorter wavelengths and higher flux levels and the inclusion of aspheric surfaces provided the early impetus for developing optics with advanced internal heat exchanger designs and for improved processes for polishing and testing associated optical surfaces. Today this technology continues to evolve for use in third-generation synchrotron beamlines, an emerging scientific application offering far-reaching implications for materials research , pharmaceutical development, micro-machining, and integrated circuits. Components for these applications require grazing incidence optical prescriptions and special polishing techniques, often leading to the construction of new equipment and the development of suitable polishing processes and optical test procedures. An overview is provided of the advancing state of polishing and testing techniques supporting a developing class of high heat load optical components characterized by rigorous slope error tolerances and demanding surface roughness specifications.