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. Our certified opticians will work with you to find the frame that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

Titanium

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

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.”

Ticral

Ticral is an alloy of titanium. It is nickel-free and thus hypoallergenic. It’s also extremely lightweight and offers many of the features of titanium without the high cost. It can be cut a bit thicker than titanium, which enables it to have the popular look of a thin plastic frame while still offering lightweight durability.

 

Pros

Strong, durable, and available in a variety of colors.


Cons

Not yet well known.

Stainless Steel

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, lightweight, and sleek appearance, stainless steel has long been a choice of eyewear designers.

 

Pros

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

Not as lightweight, heat-resistant or flexible as titanium.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the eighth-most abundant metal element on earth. Lighter than both titanium and aluminum, magnesium is either extracted from the ocean or recovered from minerals such as dolomite or magnetite. Because of its unique properties and high cost, it has been used in the high-end frame market.

Pros

Super-lightweight material is strong, durable, and hypoallergenic.


Cons

Costs almost 50 percent more than aluminum or steel.

Beryllium

Beryllium is six times stronger than steel and more than 30 percent lighter than aluminum. Beryllium resists corrosion and tarnish, making it an excellent choice for wearers who have high skin acidity or spend time in or around salt water. It is also the only memory metal containing no nickel and can withstand very high temperatures.
 

Pros

Lightweight, durable, flexible, and is available in a wide range of colors.


Cons

A very small number of people are allergic to beryllium.

PURE Aluminum

Pure Aluminum is soft enough to carve. However, mixed with small amounts of alloys, it can provide the strength of steel with only half the weight. Because it can be “sculpted,” the softer properties of aluminum break down the creative barriers present with many other strong materials.
 

Pros

Aesthetically pleasing, strong, lightweight, and recyclable.


Cons

Aluminum can get rigid, especially in lower temperatures. Thus, integrating elements like flex hinges into an aluminum frame can be challenging.

Nickel Titanium

Nickel Titanium or NI-TI is used to manufacture Flexon™ eyewear. Ni-Ti, or titanium-based alloys, are more flexible than steel and 25 percent 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.

Monel™ Frames

Monel is a nickel alloy containing 68 percent nickel, 30 percent copper, and two percent iron. Monel,™ the most commonly used frame material today, is often used for components that require sturdiness and rigidity, such as temples and bridges.

Pros

Strong and can also be welded, brazed, and soldered.


Cons

Surface discoloration can occur from exposure to atmospheric conditions. Pitting can also occur if exposed to salt water.

Plastic

Plastic materials have many style and material options. Easily colored, laminated, patterned, and can be layered with fabrics. The two commonly used plastic frame materials are called zyl and propionate. Zyl 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

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.

Gliamides and Grilamid®

Gliamides and Grilamid is also a premier material for sports and performance frames. It is typically made of a high-quality thermoplastic material that is shock-resistant, lightweight, and non-allergenic. It provides structural integrity and stability that is very resistant to hot, cold, and chemical damage.

Pros

Easily molded into today’s popular wraparound styles.


Cons

Nylon frames do have some drawbacks in fit. Be certain of proper fit initially since the adjustments are limited.

Combination

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.

Allergic to metals?

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