What’s the right eyeglass frame material for you? For each individual, the right eyeglass frame materials are important for proper fit and comfort. Each frame material is distinguished by its own strengths and there are many materials to choose from.
Add to that the fact that you can choose frames based on color, durability, lightness, price and uniqueness and you have quite a number of options to decide on.
Metal is, perhaps, the oldest type of eyeglass frame material used and the most popular. These days, there are many different types of metal.
• Titanium is very strong, durable and corrosion-resistant. More importantly, it’s 40% lighter than other metals and hypoallergenic, which makes it a perfect material for eyeglass frames.
• Beta titanium is an alloy of titanium with small amounts of aluminum and vanadium. These additional metals make beta titanium more flexible than 100% titanium frames and that makes for easier fitting adjustments.
• Memory metal is a titanium alloy of about 50% titanium and 50% nickel. Frames made from this metal are very flexible. They can be twisted and bent to the extreme and still return to their original shape. This features makes memory metal frames a great choice for kids or others who are hard on their glasses.
• Beryllium is a lower-cost alternative to titanium. It resists corrosion and tarnishing, which makes it a great choice for anyone with high skin acidity or who spends a lot of time in or around salt water. Beryllium is lightweight, strong and flexible and available in a wide array of colors.
• Stainless steel is an iron-carbon alloy that also contains chromium. These frames are lightweight, strong, durable, flexible and corrosion-resistant.
• Monel is a popular, inexpensive material made of nickel and copper. Depending on the quality of the plating used, Monel frames may discolor or cause skin irritation over time.
• Zyl is also known as Zylonite or cellulose acetate. It’s a lightweight and relatively inexpensive type of plastic and the most popular plastic used for eyeglass frames. They are available in a wide range of colors, including multi-colored.
• Propionate is a nylon-based plastic that is strong, flexible, lightweight and hypoallergenic. This plastic is often used in sports frames.
• Nylon is strong, lightweight and flexible but it can become brittle with age. Because of that, it has mostly been replaced with nylon blends that are more hard-wearing.
Combination frames have both metal and plastic components. They were popular in the 1950s and 60s and have recently made a comeback in a wider variety of colors than classic models.
Because each frame material offers its own advantages and style features, you may want to purchase more than one pair of glasses with a different frame material for each pair.
For instance, you may want a conservative-style of frame made of lightweight titanium for the office but on the weekend, you could opt for something with more color and style like a zyl frame in multicolor.