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An Anatomy of Eyeglasses

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Anatomy of Eyeglasses Chart
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  • 1.End pieces

    The small side sections of the frame front that extend outward from the top edge of the lens area and connect to the frame’s temples

  • 2.Bridge

    The small, arched area between your specs’ lenses that rests on the top of the nose and supports the bulk of the frame’s weight

  • 3.Nose Pads

    Adjustable silicone or plastic pieces that sit on the inside of the frame’s bridge, attaching to pad arms or directly to the frame.

    Nose pads play a critical role in keeping the frame in position on your face — they are typically adjustable for a more personalized fit

  • 4.Pad Arms

    Struts or arms that hold the nose pads in place; adjustable pad arms allow the wearer to personalize a more comfortable fit

  • 5.Lenses

    An integral part of the mix, eyeglass lenses are custom-made with the wearer’s prescription — they are available in materials ranging from glass, plastic, and polycarbonate to the revolutionary and high-tech high-index material

  • 6.Eye Wires/Rims

    The front part of the frame that houses the lenses. Frame fronts come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and materials. Semi-rimless and rimless frames lack these visible rim pieces, instead utilizing an “invisible” wire to secure lenses in place

  • 7.Hinges

    A strong and durable mechanical section of the frame that connects the temples to the frame front and allows the temples to fold inward in a closing motion. Options range from minimalist micro hinges to spring hinges, which deliver comfort via a design that also bends away from the frame for a better fit

  • 8.Temples

    Sometimes referred to as eyeglass “arms”, these pieces extend over and behind the ears to help keep the frame in place. Temple styles run the gamut from simple, straight looks and retro drop temples to twisted metals and crystal-embellished plastics. Temple materials range from thin and lightweight, high-tech metals like titanium and stainless steel to chunky, laminated acetates

  • 9.Temple tips

    The end piece of the temple that extends past the back of the ear. Some frames feature silicone- or plastic-coated temple tips that help keep frames securely in place on the face

Typical Frame Shapes

Typical Frame Materials

Metals

Types of Metals

Monel

Malleable, strong, and corrosion-resistant, monel is the most common eyeglass frame material. Monel is created from a mixture of several different metals.

Stainless Steel

Sleek, versatile, and discreet, stainless steel frames are resistant to corrosion, abrasion, and heat. In the market for a lightweight, hypoallergenic option that you can rely on, rain or shine? Go with stainless steel.

Titanium

Clean, modern, hypoallergenic, and incredibly lightweight, high-tech titanium lends a cool metallic sheen to frames while imparting superlative durability. If you’re tough on your frames, a titanium (or a less-expensive titanium alloy) style may be for you—they’re virtually indestructible.

Beryllium

Lightweight, very strong, and very flexible, beryllium comes in a wide array of colors and is corrosion and tarnish resistant, making it a great choice if you spend a lot of time near salt water.

Flexon®

Impervious to twisting, bending and crushing, Flexon® is a titanium composite "memory metal" that allows frames to spring back into their original shape—no matter how you mistreat them.

Aluminum

Lightweight, distinctive, and extremely resistant to corrosion, aluminum is strong and durable. It is also favored as a frame material by luxury eyewear designers for its singular look and feel.

Gold

Some ultra-luxe eyewear collections feature frames crafted of 24-karat gold, accompanied by a sky-high, luxury price tag.

Plastics

Types of Plastics

Acetate (aka cellulose acetate)

Hypoallergenic, glossy, lightweight and made from renewable materials, acetate frames are created by molding layers of plastic into large blocks, then carefully slicing individual pieces and hand polishing. Acetate can be used to fashion a range of eye-catching colors with appealing translucency, effects and finishes.

Nylon

A first-rate material for sports, performance and tech frames (like wraparound styles), nylon frames are very resistant to extreme temperatures and can be both flexible and stiff.

Zyl

On trend, cost-effective and eminently dye-able, zyl is being used to fashion all those laminated, layered frames that can make or break a look. Addicted to color? You may want to add zyl to your eyewear wish list.

Others

Other Materials

Wood

Earthy yet refined, frames hewn from wood are very often handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces. While genuine wood lack flexibility and cost much more than other materials, they persist in popularity because of their intrinsic aesthetic qualities.

Gems

Swarovski crystals, semi-precious or even precious gemstones have become especially popular as accents on head-turning frame temples, plus cat-eye and vintage-look frames, for a luxurious touch.

Leather

Rich, color-infused leather is sometimes used in eyewear frames because of its unique texture and richness. Keep an eye out for leather accents on temples or across frame fronts to create an intriguing, heritage look.

Lace or Fabric

Almost any fabric that appears on the runway could pop up as a design feature in eyewear. If you’re looking to stand out with a boutique pair of specs or shades – or recreate a designer’s vision from head to toe – keep your eyes peeled for this on-trend look.