How to choose the right frame material for you?

Most people choose their eyewear on the basis of price and style, whereas there are other factors to consider, such as material’s durability, flexibility and how light-weighted the frames are.

In today’s world eyewear is made from different types of metals and plastics. Some frames are the combination of metal and plastics. Different materials will be right for different people and different and situations, according to Devin Harrison, MD, an ophthalmologist at Columbia River Eye Center in Richland, WA.

Metal Eyeglass Frames

In general, frames made from metal, titanium or alloys (a mixture of metals) stand up well to wear and tear.

Titanium frames are very strong, lightweight and corrosion-resistant. They are hypoallergenic – an important consideration for people who are allergic to certain metals, such as nickel. “Titanium frames are sturdy and can be a good choice for older children or for anyone who is rough on their frames,” says Dr. Harrison. Titanium frames come in a variety of colours.

Monel is a mixture of metals. While these frames may have nickel or other metals that can cause allergic reactions in some people with sensitive skin, Dr. Harrison says most Monel frames have a coating to protect the skin. Monel frames are quite flexible and corrosion-resistant.

Beryllium costs less than titanium and is very lightweight and strong. It is also flexible, making it easy for the optician to adjust them. Beryllium is extremely corrosion-resistant, Dr. Harrison says. These frames can be a good choice for people who spend a lot of time in or around saltwater. Beryllium frames come in many colours.

Stainless steel frames are lightweight and strong, but not as light as titanium. They can be less expensive than other metal frames and are corrosion-resistant.

Flexon, as the name suggests, is a very flexible material. Flexon is an alloy of titanium, which comes back into shape even after it is twisted or bent. These frames are lightweight, corrosion-resistant and hypoallergenic. “These frames are great for active kids,” Dr. Harrison says.

Aluminum is sometimes used in high-end frames. It is corrosion-resistant, flexible and strong.

Plastic Eyeglass Frames

Cellulose Acetate

With long-lasting and lightweight acetate frames, any combination of colours, textures and patterns is possible, making it one of the most popular materials for eyeglasses. This material yields exceptionally cool and trendy glasses, making it stand out in today’s pop culture. Acetate is a sustainable material made from plant-based fibres. As it is a very flexible material. Their lightweight and durability properties make them a good choice for adults and children, especially those who want a pair of fuss-free glasses. Since acetate frames don’t need nose pads, they are especially suited for long-term wear which is a deciding factor for some people. An added benefit is that they don’t leave any marks on the nose.


If you’re guilty of dropping your frames all the time, fear not, one of the best features of TR-90 frames is that they’re impact-resistant. Another popular choice for frames, TR-90 is very flexible and can contour easily to your face. Much lighter than even acetate, the feather-light feel makes them especially comfortable for everyday wear. They also come in a variety of colours.


A top-quality frames and sunglasses material, Ultem is not only super flexible but a super-strong material too. It won’t break even when bent out of shape and is also highly heat and flame resistant. It gives you everything you’re looking for in a pair of frames – durability, flexibility and feather-light weight.

Cellulose Propionate

If you’re only looking for plastic frames, you can try cellulose propionate that is a plastic similar to cellulose acetate but only in appearance. The material is considerably lighter. You have a variety of colour choices with these frames and they are also more cost-effective. Cellulose Propionate can be adjusted through a core wire in the temple for a better fit.

Combo Materials

If you want the best of both worlds, you can pick combo frames that incorporate both metal and plastic. Many frames come with plastic rims but metal temples and/or bridges, or vice versa. Choosing this combination of frame materials gives you additional colours and styles to choose from while reaping the benefits of both.



A chart to figure out the material for you