We report optical studies of predominantly c-axis oriented high-Tc superconducting films before and after ion milling. A significant increase in midinfrared reflectivity resulted from ion milling of a few thousand Å Features associated with α-axis texture vanished after ion milling, resulting in pure c-axis films. This suggests that α-axis grains reside mostly near the surface in post-annealed high-Tc superconducting films. Therefore, even after annealing (for the purpose of raising Tc ), highly oriented c-axis films can be retained by ion milling. This may be important for device applications where optically smooth surfaces and interfaces are to be routinely prepared.