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How indexes work in LDAP

Can someone help explain how indexes work in LDAP.
>From http://www.openldap.org/doc/admin/slapdconfig.html
This directive specifies the indexes to maintain for the given attribute. If
only an <attrlist> is given, the default indexes are maintained.
        index default pres,eq
        index objectClass,uid
        index cn,sn eq,sub,approx
The first line sets the default set of indices to maintain to present and
equality. The second line causes the default (pres,eq) set of indices to be
maintained for objectClass. The third line causes equality, substring, and
approximate indices to be maintained for cn and sn attribute types.
I kind of get it, but what do pres,eq,approx,sub,none mean?  
What does <attrlist> ::= <attr> | <attr> , <attrlist> amount to in human

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