Eyeglass Frame Materials

Never before has there been such a variety of frame materials to use for informed, technologically driven patients. Ask us about the features and benefits of each frame material and what best meets your lifestyle requirements.This article outlines the facts on each frame material, currently used to manufacture eyeglasses available in the marketplace, to help you select the best eyeglasses for your lifestyle.

Titanium Glasses Frames

Titanium is a high-strength, lightweight material commonly used in everything from hubcaps to eyewear. Because titanium ranks seventh in abundance among industry elements in the earth’s crust, it is easily accessible. This material has picked up speed in the eyewear industry as a lightweight option that lends itself to unique designs and colorations.

Pros: Titanium is as strong as steel, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and corrosion-resistant.

Cons: This material is more expensive than other materials. Beware of the difference between “pure titanium” and “titanium alloy.”

Stainless Steel Frames

Stainless Steel material is an alloy of iron and carbon steel with chromium and other elements. The addition of at least 10 percent chromium makes this alloy less prone to stain or rust, a factor that results in a long life compared to that of traditional steel. Because of its durability, light-weight, and sleek appearance, stainless steel has long been a choice of eyewear designers.

Pros: Stainless steel is non-corrosive, durable, strong, lightweight, and hypoallergenic. It can also be easily shaped into ultra-thin eyewear styles and has flexibility, which adds to the wearer’s comfort.

Cons: Stainless is still not as lightweight, heat-resistant or flexible as titanium.

Nickel Titanium Frames

Nickel Titanium, or titanium-based alloys, are more flexible than steel and 25% lighter than conventional metals.

Pros: Flexibility removes the need for spring hinge and increases comfort and durability for patients who are hard on their eyewear.

Cons: Since all Ni-Ti is nickel based, allergies and pitting may be an issue.

Plastic Glasses Frames

Plastic materials have many style and material options. Easily colored, laminated, patterned, or even layered with fabrics, this material is one of the more creative and workable options. The two commonly used plastic frame materials are called zyl and propionate. Zyl, also known as cellulose acetate, is the most commonly used plastic frame material and is available in every color of the rainbow. Propionate is the second most common materials and is a nylon-based, hypoallergenic plastic. It’s lightweight and has a different look and feel than other plastic

Pros: Plastic is easily molded into today’s popular wraparound styles.

Cons: Plastic frames have some drawbacks in fit. Be certain of proper fit initially since the adjustments are limited.

Combination Eyeglass Frames

Combination frames help you get the best of both materials with frames that combine the sleek sophistication of metal with the colors and thickness of plastic. The cool contrast of these popular material duos adds visual interest.

Are You Allergic to Certain Materials?

Is your skin sensitive to certain frame materials or nose pads? Please tell Dr. Carlson or Dr. Cheng or let someone on our staff know so we can help you find eyeglasses you can wear comfortably.