Differences Between Metal and Plastic Frames

squid17One of the first questions your optician (AKA: personal eyeglass stylist) will ask you is whether you prefer a metal or plastic frame. How do you know which you prefer? Especially if you’ve never worn eyeglasses before, or if you’ve only ever worn one type of frame! Here are some of the basic differences between metal and plastic eyeglass frames and some of the advantages of each.

Metal Eyeglass Frames

Many people choose metal eyeglass frames because they can be more subtle, smaller and lighter weight. I wore metal eyeglass frames for years for one main reason: they had nose pads. If you have a small nose or have a hard time keeping glasses up on your face, you may want to choose a frame with nose pads to help alleviate glasses slippage!

Here are a few other reasons you may prefer a metal eyeglass frame:

  1. Some people think metal frames are cooler to wear (temperature wise) than plastic frames. They provide slightly more “air flow” to your cheeks and eyes.
  2. Some metal frames are very durable. It would take a whole lot to snap the temple or break the frame. Unlike a plastic frame, you can’t burn a metal frame or distort the shape with heat. (Note: the quality of the eyeglass frame determines it’s durability, more than the material from which it is made.)
  3. Certain types of metal frames can be hypoallergenic, if you have any type of skin allergy.

Plastic Eyeglass Frames

Plastic eyeglass frames are generally thicker in shape and bolder in style. Why? It’s fairly easy to take certain plastic compounds–like Zyl or cellulose — and make them any color you can dream of! If you are looking for a brighter, bolder eyeglass frame, plastic is probably going to be your first choice. Here are some other advantages of plastic eyeglass frames:

  1. Plastic frames are often easier to put thicker lenses into. If you need thicker lenses because of a high prescription, this type of frame may be your best choice to disguise them.
  2. Plastic frames can be made more durable when specially designed for sports. Plastic frames can also offer wrap-around or other sports-friendly features that metal frames cannot.
  3. Some people are allergic to the silicone that is part of the nose pads on a metal frame. If you have this type of allergy, you may want to choose a plastic frame that won’t include nose pads.

Talk to your Eyeglass World optician about your lifestyle and which type of eyeglass frame may be best for you.