Materials Matter By Dr. Steven Chander on October 05, 2015

Material Matters

Today’s High Tech line up of eye glass frame materials

Eye was Framed!  When you look around all the people wearing fashionable eyewear, take a closer look at what they are wearing.  Not WHO they are wearing, rather what are they wearing?

Today we’ll discuss what’s in a frame?  As todays eyewear is not only functional and fashionable, but crafted from very advanced raw frame materials than ever before.

High-tech eye glass frame materials are lighter in weight, stronger, more durable, very colorful and far superior than frame designs in the past.


Your opticians at Primary Eye Care Associates will help you define your fashion statement, while providing you with the function to support the excellent optics Dr. Chander and the eye care team design for your vision care needs and demands.


 Zyl [also called Zyl pronounced zy-al, also called cellulose acetate)


Chic Geek is in!  Made from the cotton plant’s cellulose substance and chemical stabilizers and plastics), plastic frames are the most widely used frame materials.


The plastic is injected in a liquid form, into a mold and is then formed to make the shape of the eyeglass frame.  Others are cut from pre molded blocks of plastic.


Pros on Plastic Eyeglass Frames

·         Lightweight

·         Comfortable

·         Awesome colors  and prints available

·         Laminated, patterned and fused with fabrics

·         Very creative designs

Cons on Plastic Eyeglass Frames

·         Aging can decrease strength, and cause areas to become brittle; they can break more easily

·         Most do not have nose pads, during certain hotter climate situations they can slide down your nose more easily

Alloy Eyeglass Frames

This is a very popular style and crafted from many different alloys.

Monel is probably the most popular alloy, it is a nickel alloy made of 68% nickel, 30% copper, and 2% iron.

Tikal is a blend of Titanium, copper and chrome.  This is a great alloy providing less skin irritation lighter weight and increased strength.

Beta Titanium is made of titanium, iron, chromium, cobalt, nickel, and a few other metals.

            The Pro’s on Metal Frames:

·         Very affordable inexpensive material for eyewear options

·         Strong and durable

·         Bendable and some are resistant to corrosion from skin oils and sweat

The Con’s on Metal Frames:

·         Less vibrant colors available

·         Sensitive skin wearers beware…can cause a rash or allergic skin reaction

Titanium Eyeglass frames

This type of frame is used in higher end eyeglass frames and sunglasses.  This is a pure metal, not mixed with fillers and is a very high performance material with great technical components.

The Pros of Titanium eyeglass frames

·         Strongest material (great for kids!)

·         Hypoallergenic nature, no allergy reaction or skin rashes

·         Very light weight (higher prescriptions are recommended to be in titanium)

·         Corrosion resistant

The Cons of titanium eyeglass frames

·         More expensive

·         Not available everywhere

Stainless Steel Eyeglass frames

About 2/3 allow steel and 1/3 chromium.  Great alternative to titanium, and is used in many of the branded eyeglass frames available today.

The pro’s on Stainless steel eyeglass frames

·         Light weight

·         Very strong

·         Less expensive than titanium

·         Corrosion resistant

·         Hypoallergenic

The Con’s on Stainless steel eyeglass frames

·         Not as light weight as titanium

·         Not very flexible

Aluminum Eyeglass frames

A great light weight choice for eyeglass frames.  It’s about the same strength as steel but at about half the weight.

The pro’s on Aluminum eyeglass frames

·         Very soft, but strong making it very easy to custom adjust/fit

·         Corrosion resistant

·         Lightweight

The cons of aluminum eyeglass frames

·         Can come out of alignment more often because it is a softer material

·         Slightly less durable

Cooper Beryllium Eyeglass frames

Beryllium is a very strong, lightweight element that is found in gem stones like emeralds.  When mixed with copper it makes a great alloy to make eyeglass frames out of.

The pros of copper Beryllium eyeglass frames

·         Light weight

·         Strong

·         Flexible

·         Great polish finish and easy to machine into fancy shapes and designs

The cons of copper Beryllium eyeglass frames

·         Small number of people are allergic to beryllium

Memory metal eyeglass frames

Memory metals make cool pair of eyeglass frames that bend back into shape!  These are made of a blend of alloys that produce a high performance, that can return to it’s original state of shape after being bent.  Most memory metal frames are made with alloys that include copper, aluminum nickel and titanium. 

The Pros of memory metal eyeglasses

·         Retains its shape! Bent and twist it, it comes back to its original state

·         Great for sports or people rough on their eyewear

·         Light weight

The Cons of memory metal eyeglasses

·         More expensive

·         Not available at every optical

 Nylon eyeglass frames (also known as Grilamid and gliamides)

Nylon is very light weight and flexible that is often used in sports eyewear.  Nylon is a form of cellulose acetate .

The pros of Nylon Frames

·         Perfect for sports

·         Light weight

·         Strong

·         Durable

·         Flexible, yet stiff

The cons of nylon frames

·         Because it is stiff, it’s difficult to custom adjust to fit snug and proper on your face

·         Brittle material, can break or snap easily

·         Not many cool vibrant colors available like with Zyl

Carbon Fiber eyeglass material

The wave of the future! These eyeglass frames are made of very thin fibers that are essentially woven together in  a crystal fashion that becomes very strong.  Most eyeglass frames using carbon fiber use this material in the temples (the side arms of the frames)

The pro’s of Carbon fiber eyeglasses

·         Very light weight

·         Strongest material

·         Very durable keeps its look for years without fading

·         Very durable

The con’s of Carbon fiber eyeglasses

·         More expensive

·         Not available everywhere

At Primary Eye Care Associates, our optical team is ready to find you that perfect look to go along with the perfect high-definition vision using the latest in eyewear and vision testing technology.  Stop by to visit out sunglass center and optical gallery to test drive any of the above frame materials today!  Call to schedule a complimentary frame stylist sizing and fashion consultation today!  773-735-6090



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Dr. Steven Chander

Primary Eye Care Associates

Primary Eye Care Associates is a family-friendly vision care practice in Chicago. Led by our eye doctor, Dr. Steven Chander, our practice provides a variety of services, features a state-of-the-art optical laboratory, and includes an optical boutique with designer frames. Dr. Chander is certified by:

  • The National Board of Examiners in Optometry
  • The American Optometric Association

To schedule an appointment with our team, please fill out our online form or call (773) 735-6090.

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