Types of Eyeglass Frames

by Stacey on May 16, 2011

Types of Frames

You’ve visited your eye doctor and you have a prescription for glasses.  Now you have a decision to make about what types of glasses to get.  One thing you will want to figure out is what type of frame material to choose. Each type has its own qualities, strengths and weaknesses.  Here is a guide that goes over the options for eyeglass frame materials:

Metal Eyeglass Frames

• Monel – This is the most widely used material in eyeglass frames.  It is very malleable and is corrosion-resistant for the most part.  With some people, it can react with their skin chemistry.

• Titanium or beta-titanium – This silver or gray metal is lightweight, durable strong, and doesn’t corrode.  It comes in a variety of colors and is hypoallergenic.  Titanium alloy frames usually cost less than 100% titanium frames.

• Beryllium – This is a steel gray metal which is cheaper than titanium eyeglass frames.  It doesn’t corrode or tarnish, so for those with highly acidic skin or live near the ocean.  It is lightweight, strong, flexible, and available in many colors.

• Stainless steel & surgical stainless – These are lightweight, strong, and usually are hypoallergenic.  It is also easy to find in stores and reasonably priced.  It protects fairly well from corrosion and heat.

• Aluminum – These create a unique look and thus are often used by well-known designers with more expensive glasses.  It is hard and strong in its commercial form, which is used in eyeglasses.

Plastic Eyeglass Frames

• Zylonite (also called zyl or cellulose acetate) – This is very cost effective, lightweight and creative because it is available is a rainbow of colors.  It even comes in a laminated option with layered colors.  Lighter colors on the interior sides keep the frames from standing out in your line of vision.  Some types of zylonite are hypoallergenic.  These are usually a good option for those who want trendy frames.

• Blended nylon – Eyeglass manufacturers improved upon traditional nylon which is more brittle.  This version is strong and lightweight.  Also, it is commonly used for sports and performance eyeglass frames.  These can come in wraparound styles of glasses and sunglasses.

Plastic vs. Metal Eyeglass Frames

Plastic and metal frames both have different looks and price points.  Plastic frames can break more easily than metal ones.  Also, aging and exposure to sun slightly decreases the strength of plastic frames.   Metal frames are more resistant to corrosion, but plastic frames often come in more varieties, like with colors.

Your eye care professional can help recommend options. A visit to one of our stores will also let you try out different types of eyeglasses.

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