Abstract We probe the “bulk” and near-surface regions of O-implanted heteroepitaxial ZnSe films, using the full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) of the Raman line. The results are compared to those after N implantation. A tensile stress attributed to a deformation in the lattice around O is found. Under rapid thermal annealing, the optimum temperature for the recovery of the implantation damage without suffering from thermally generated point defects is T a = 500°C. It corresponds here to the maximum FWHM from the uncompensated tensile stress, while identical FWHM's are found for the top and the “bulk” part of the film just after implantation, and after implantation and T a = 600°C.