Spectacle frames, while looking very different, are generally made from a variety of metal or plastic materials. While each type has both pros and cons, we are also seeing many frame designers and suppliers combining both metals and plastics to create something new.
Metal Frames – Almost all metal frames can be found with nose pads. Whether you are a fan of nose pads or absolutely cannot stand them, they do provide slightly more adjustment capabilities than a plastic frame. Nose pad arms and the pads themselves can be adjusted to sit in the correct spot on a variety of different shaped faces and can be manipulated to feel comfortable for the majority of wearers. While allowing more adjustment capabilities, it’s important to understand that the weight of the frame and the lenses are mostly centered on those two little pads, so the weight is in those two spots. If you are sensitive on your nose or don’t like anything too heavy, this is an important fact to remember.
Metal frames are likely to survive a frame disaster, such as a fall or being sat on, or if your grandchildren borrow them. Most well made metals allow for one big bend and re alignment. Once there has been damage like this done to the frame, however, if it is readjusted to fit properly again, the metal has fatigued with that pressure and in turn, does weaken the frame overall.
Metal frames in a lot of cases will tend to be lighter than a plastic frame. Less material is often used and the weight between, for example, titanium and acetate can differ substantially.
Acetate / Plastic Frames – There is a multitude of different types of plastic that are used to create frames. Whether it is acetate, TR 90 injection moulded, Optyl, or SPX among others, they are all different and have different qualities.
Plastic frames are generally found without nose pads. The weight of the frame and lenses are spread over a larger area, unlike nose pads, and therefore if you get a perfectly fitted plastic frame for the bridge of your nose, the comfort of them should be near perfect.
While plastic frames do not have the same adjustment capabilities of a metal frame, they can almost always be tightened behind the patients ears, to keep them from slipping forward and down. The better fit of a plastic frame, the less likely you are to have issues.
Plastic frames can feel more solid and stable than metal, but are more likely to crack if it has a solid sharp knock to it, like dropping on the ground. Not as pliable as metal, if a plastic frame cracks, it is less likely to be able to be repaired to a satisfactory standard.
Combining both metal and plastic into one frame, can create a spectacle that appeases a wider audience. If it is a combination pair, it is likely that the plastic will be the front of the frame, and the temples (arms) are the metal. Some designers have also made the bridge metal as well, to tie the whole frame in nicely together, and it also gives a slightly softer look to the overall frame. This is a great choice if you are looking for a slightly heavier looking frame, without having your entire face hidden behind too much plastic. Metal temples in a lot of cases, make a combination pair look more feminine and classic, rather than too overbearing and chunky.
There is such a wide array of spectacle selections these days, and some of them are absolutely amazing. Whether you are simply looking for something nondescript and classic or a pair that is bold and colourful and screams ‘Look at me’ there is definitely the perfect pair out there for everyone.