We present the methodology and recent results on the longterm evaluation of optical materials for 157-nm lithographic applications. We review the unique metrology capabilities that have been developed for accurately assessing optical properties of samples both online and offline, utilizing VUV spectrophotometry with in situlamp-based cleaning. We describe ultraclean marathon testing chambers that have been designed to decouple effects of intrinsic material degradation from extrinsic ambient effects. We review our experience with lithography-grade 157-nm lasers and detector durability. We review the current status of bulk materials for lenses, such as CaF(2) and BaF(2), and durability results of antireflectance coatings. Finally, we discuss the current state of laser durability of organic pellicles.