frame materials greatly expand your options for a new look. While
shopping for new eyeglasses or sunglasses, ask your option for advice
about variety in colors, durability, lightness, favorite brands,
hypoallergenic materials, uniqueness and price. In fact, finding
eyeglasses with the qualities that are most important to you could be as
simple as choosing the right frame material, because each type has it's
own unique strengths.
If you want the colors of the rainbow, then zyl
(zylonite or cellulose acetate) is your material. Zyl is a very
cost-effective and creative option for eyewear and is extremely
lightweight. Particularly popular right now are laminated zyl frames
that have layered colors. Look for light colors on the interior sides,
which can make your eyewear "disappear" from your visual field when you
wear them. An all black frame, on the other hand, is visible at all
times on both interior and exterior sides.
Some manufacturers also use cellulose acetate propionate,
a nylon-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. It's lightweight and has
more transparency and gloss than other plastics. If your main criterion
for a frame is lightness, then definitely consider propionate frames.
Eyeglasses made of nylon
were first introduced in the late 1040's. Because of brittleness and
other problems, eyeglass manufacturers switched to blended nylon
(polyamides, co-poliamides, and grilamids). Today's blended nylon frames
are both strong and lightweight.
Nylon is also a premier
material for sports and performance frames, typically made of gliamides,
grilamid or trogamid materials that are very resistant to hot and cold
and are more flexible, yet also stiff. Nylon also is easily molded into
today's popular wraparound styles, as well as other shapes that are
difficult to produce.
Plastic frames do have some drawbacks.
They are easier to break than metal frames, they will burn (but are not
easily ignited), and aging and exposure to sunlight decrease their
strength slightly. Color can fade over time, but not as much with modern
- a mixture of any of a broad range of metals - is the most widely used
material in the manufacture of eyeglass frames. It's malleability and
corrosion resistance are pluses. Still, it is not 100 percent
corrosion-resistant: for some people, monel can react with their skin
chemistry. But this is preventable if the right kind of plating, such as
palladium or other nickel-free options, is used.
Many frame manufacturers offer titanium and beta-titanium
styles these days; titanium is a silver-gray metal that's lightweight,
durable, strong and corrosion-resistant. It has been used for everything
from the Gemini and Apollo space capsules to medical implants such as
Titanium eyewear can be produced in a variety of
colors for a clean, modern look with a hint of color. And they're
Some titanium frames are made from an alloy that
is a combination of titanium and other metals, such as nickel or copper.
In general, titanium alloy frams cost less that 100 percent titanium
Beryllium, a steel-gray metal, is a
lower-cost alternative titanium eyewear. It resists corrosion and
tarnish, making it an excellent choice for wearers who have high skin
acidity or spend a good amount of time in or around salt water.
is also lightweight, very strong, very flexible (making it easy for an
optician to adjust your glasses) and available in a wide range of