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What are eyeglasses frames made of?

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Dr. Marc Weinstein

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Every day, we find ourselves surrounded with little wonders, barely curious about how they have come to be. The computer, the elevator, the water heater, and sometimes, wonders as simple as our glasses frames. But really, how did these frames come to be?

There are several materials from which glasses frames can be made. From zyl to nylon, silicone, and even titanium. We'll be looking at some of these materials in this article.

Handmade Acetate:

Acetate may be alternatively referred to as cellulose acetate or zylonite. It's a material that is made with a combination of cotton and wood pulp. Acetate was developed by Paul Schützenberge in 1865.  It is also recorded to be one of the first sets of synthetic fibers. 75 years after its creation, it was instituted as an eyewear material.

The Acetate is quite reputable for its ability to last long and be easily adjusted for customized fittings. It also has striking colors which can easily be noticed.

To make acetate materials for glasses frames, the manufacturers combine organic dyes, acetone, and acetate sheets to make the material colorful and attractive. This makes it one of the most preferable materials for eyeglasses frames.

After the combination, the material is placed under large rollers which presses the sheet and cuts it into smaller bits after which it is pressed with another set of colors

The pieces are further cut by a CNC milling machine. The rough-cut pieces are finished off by a craftsman who polishes the pieces and adds finishing touches.


TR90 is another material that ticks the durability box. In addition, it is quite light and flexible. In terms of flexibility, it'll rather bend than break when put under pressure. This flexible nature also enables it to fit the patient's eye perfectly. This is why frames made from this material are usually quite comfortable.

The flexibility of TR-90 is also the major feature that makes it last longer. Because it is flexible, the chances of breaking are quite slim. This makes the material highly recommended for children since they are not exactly the most careful bunch. They also work for adults who need a rugged frame.

The TR-90 has a rubber-like feel compared to other forms of plastic frames. It is mostly finished with matte coatings. Because of its hypoallergenic properties, It is quite suitable for people whose skin is sensitive.  Also, it is light enough to help you forget that you have a pair of glasses on.


Injection molded frames are one of the simplest yet most popular kinds of glasses. Such frames are made from TR-90, any material made from it. Or carbon graphite or similar materials. In their ready-to-use form, they are made into sacks of pellets. These pellets are then crushed by a machine and then processed into liquid form. This liquid is poured into the mold which is already shaped according to what the manufacturer desired. When the liquid has cooled on the mill, it is then popped out from the mold to make another one.

On coloring, pain effects can be added. Typically, these pellets come in black but the frame can be spray-painted when it is cool. To make patterned designs, you can cover some parts of the glass before spraying. The way you cover the frame will be determined by the kind of pattern you want to achieve.

You can make zebra prints by tying the weaving ribbons around the frame while leaving some parts open. Spray the frame with white and then take off the ribbons and the zebra print sticks. You can also try polka dots by placing a  punctured mask in the frame and then spraying. By the time you take the mask off, the glasses are set with a polka dot pattern.


Monel is a material that is a basic mixture of metals. It belongs to the family of nickel alloy. Its component breakdown has 2% in iron, 30% in copper, and 68% in nickel. Because it is a strong material, it comes in handy in terms of durability. It's not the kind of material that gives way easily. This makes it quite suitable for temples and bridges of glass frames.

However, it tends to lose color over time, and may also cause skin reactions for people who are allergic to any of the metals that were used to make it up. Thus, coating the metal or protecting it from saltwater or harsh atmospheric conditions is also effective. As strong as monel frames can be, they can also be quite flexible and are also quite durable since they don't rust.

Nickel Alloy

Nickel Alloy is one metal that is quite popular among eye frame materials. Known for its durability, it is mostly used in combination with other materials such as copper. It is a form of metal that gives the glasses frame its sturdiness and durability. However, it can cause skin reactions for patients, which is why it is advisable to use nickel frames that are coated.


This is another metal material that is hypoallergenic by nature. Titanium is a strong metal that is also lightweight because of its low density. It is also corrosion-resistant which makes it a viable option for patients who have allergies. Titanium also works for children or persons who are not exactly careful in maintenance. It also looks attractive and expensive.

In conclusion, each material has its peculiarities and benefits. Thus, you should consider the factors that make your glass frame suitable for you in particular. You can also consult your doctor to help you make a more effective decision.