Which Eyeglass Frame Material Should You Use?

by ivan chen

In the olden days, you had two choices when it came to material choice for your eyeglasses: metal or plastic. Thankfully, the times have changed. You have more choices when it comes to styles, colors, and materials but more choices can mean more of a headache when it comes to shopping. It's important to know what each material can do you for you, the wearer, before you decide to buy. Just because a pair looks attractive, doesn't mean it can fit your lifestyle. There are a few things to consider before choosing a frame material - your skin tone, personality, and lifestyle should all factor into your decision of a frame material. There are a lot of different materials to choose from: plastic, flexon, metal, and titanium. Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses.

1. Plastic Eyeglass Frames

Plastic frames are a favorite given their versatility. Zylonite (also known as zyl or cellulose acetate) is cost efficient, light weight, and a creative option for eyewear since you can get it in nearly every color in the rainbow. Cellulose acetate propionate is a nylon-based plastic that happens to be hypoallergenic and light weight. It's also more transparent and glossy than other plastics you may come across. Since hard plastics can weigh you down, if you're concerned about the weight of your frames, you may want to consider a propionate frame. If you're into sports and lead an active lifestyle, opt for a frame that blends nylon with other materials - it creates a material that is resistant to hot and cold plus it's more flexible. Nylon is a favorite for adventurers because it's easily molded and comes in nearly every style - including the popular wraparound style. One drawback to a plastic frame is that it's more prone to breakage, can melt (at high temperatures), and can age and decompose with exposure to sunlight.

2. Metal Eyeglass Frames

Metal frames are a favorite among people who crave classic styles. Monel is the most widely used material in glasses manufacturing and it's a mixture of a broad range of metals. It's not prone to corrosion but is not 100 percent corrosion resistant. Another down side to monel is how it reacts to certain skin chemistry - allergic reactions may occur but with the right kind of plating (like nickel-free or palladium), this can be prevented. Titanium is a light weight, durable, hypoallergenic, and corrosion-resistant material that looks clean and modern. While they can be tinted, the popular colors in titanium are still the metal-based colors like bronze, gunmetal, and silver. For a lower cost alternative, opt for beryllium - it's a good choice for people who spend a large amount of time in or around sea water and resists corrosion.

3. Stainless Steel Eyeglass Frames

Stainless steel frames are another amazing alternative to titanium and they come in a wide range of colors. They have a low toxicity and also come nickel-free, making them hypoallergenic. If you're looking for something more flexible, opt for Flexon. It's a titanium-based alloy that is often thought of as the "memory metal". They generally pop back into shape after twisting and bending but, it's important to note that they are still breakable.

4. Other Eyeglass Frames

Some companies make their frames out of pure gold or silver but it's usually gold or silver plating - so buyers beware. You can also get eyewear made from wood, bone, buffalo horns, or bamboo. All of these are usually handmade and some are one of a kind pieces. Wood and bamboo are great eyeglass frame materials and they're stiffer and less adjustable but very sturdy.

Whatever, eyeglass frames for your expensive or cheap eyeglasses you choose from; always get only the ones that suit your purpose. Consider beforehand whether you want them as prescription eyeglasses, specialty glasses or just as a fashion accessory.

Keep in mind also that some frames are just for certain types of lens makes. Progressive lenses, for example, don't work well with thinner and slimmer frames. It is better to choose a symmetrical frame that sits well on the centers of your eyes especially if you have a high prescription glasses.