Choosing the Right Eyeglass Frames

Selecting the right eyeglass frames can be time consuming. If your strategy is to try on every style and shape first to see how it looks, you will have to spend hours at the optician's office. By determining the best size, shape, and, material of your eyeglass frames, you can focus on finding frames that match your personality.

Selecting frame size

Just one look around an eyewear store and you know that eyeglass frames come in various sizes. But, they do not have typical sizes like small, medium, and large. In reality eyeglass frames are sized by three separate components: 

  • Lens size: ensures that the selected frames can hold the lenses 
  • Bridge size: used to make sure the frame fits on your nose 
  • Temple length: measures the distance from the front of your glasses to the frame part that curves over your ears

It is best to work with an eyewear professional to ensure that you select the correct frame size for your needs.

Selecting frame shape

Narrowing down your choices to a basic frame shape can save a lot of time. To choose a frame shape, it is necessary to determine your face shape.

Use the shape of your face as your guide. 

  • Round face: Angular, narrow frames can have a slimming effect on round faces. Wearing rectangular glasses that are wider than tall will make a round face appear thinner and longer. 
  • Oval face: Oval faces tend to be well balanced. Frames that are wider than the widest part of your face will complement facial features well. 
  • Oblong face: Frames that are taller than wide or decorative frames will add width and better balance an oblong face. 
  • Diamond-shaped face: Rimless or oval frames highlight the eyes and cheekbones of a diamond-shaped face. 
  • Square face: Narrow frame styles, including narrow ovals, can soften the angles of a square face.

Selecting frame material

There are various types of materials used to make eyeglass frames – each with their own unique benefits. The main categories are plastic, metal, and other.

Plastic frames

Plastic eyeglass frames tend to be hypoallergenic, lightweight, and less expensive than other types of frames. However, these frames can break easier than metal frames and may weaken over time.

Within the plastic categories there are various frame materials. Although all of these can come in various colors and textures, are hypoallergenic, and lightweight, there are some differences: 

  • Cellulose acetate and zylonite (zyl) frames: Cost effective, but not as strong or flexible as other plastic frames 
  • Cellulose propionate frames: Very lightweight and flexible, but not as strong as nylon or metal frames 
  • Nylon frames: Today's nylon-blend frames are strong and flexible and are often used for sports eyewear

Metal frames

Metal eyeglass frames tend to be more expensive than plastic frames, but are often more durable. However, some metal frames are not hypoallergenic and can cause an allergic reaction for some users.

Some metal frames and their differences are: 

  • Monel frames: Not hypoallergenic, lightweight, or particularly strong, but more flexible than other metal frames 
  • Titanium frames: Hypoallergenic, lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant, but not very flexible. Available with some colors or textures 
  • Beryllium frames: Not hypoallergenic or available in various colors, but lightweight, strong, flexible, and corrosion-resistant 
  • Stainless steel frames: Hypoallergenic, lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant, but not very flexible or available in various colors 
  • Flexon frames: Not available in various colors, but very flexible. Also hypoallergenic, lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant 
  • Aluminum frames: Not hypoallergenic or flexible, but lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant. Can have color through coating

Frames of other materials

Plastic and metal are the norm for most eyeglass frames; however, some companies use other materials to create eyeglass frames, including: 

  • Wood 
  • Bone
  • Buffalo horn 
  • Gold 
  • Leather
  • Semi-precious stones (typically as accents on frames)

Matching frames to your personality

Once you find the right size, shape, and material for your eyeglass frames, you can then decide which frames match your personality. You can choose less noticeable frames or frames that stand out. With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find the right frame for you.

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