Mechanical grinding and shaping of optical materials imparts damage that manifests itself as defects and cracks that can propagate well below the surface of the optic. Mitigation of damage is necessary to preserve the integrity of the optic and relieve residual stress that can be detrimental to its performance. Typically, a sequence of subsequent polishing steps with finer and finer grit sizes is used to remove damage, but the process can be painfully slow especially for hard materials such as silicon carbide and often fails to remove all the damage. Reactive Atom Plasma (RAP<sup>TM</sup>) processing, a non-contact, atmospheric pressure plasma-based process, has been shown to reveal and mitigate sub-surface damage in optical materials. Twyman stress tests on thin glass and SiC substrates demonstrate RAP's ability to relieve the stress while at the same time improving surface form.