My Frames are Made of What?

Bone Glasses

Sure, we all know that eyeglass frames are made up of two main ingredients: plastics and metal. So yep that’s it- that’s the end of the article. Now you know that eyewear frames are made up of just two simple ingredients, right? Think again! At Eyes on You Seattle, under the auspice of Dr. Evie Lawson, we know the complex processes involved with designing and creating the perfect eye frame. And your frames are more than likely made up of just one or two materials. Let’s take a further look into what exactly goes into those stylish frames you wear.


If you want the colors of the rainbow, then zyl (zylonite, or cellulose acetate) is your material. "Zyl is a very cost-effective and creative option for eyewear and is extremely lightweight. Particularly popular right now are laminated zyl frames that have layered colors." Look for light colors on the interior sides, which can make your eyewear "disappear" from your visual field when you wear them. An all-black frame, on the other hand, is visible at all times on both interior and exterior sides.

Some producers of frames also use cellulose acetate propionate, a nylon-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. It is lightweight as well and has more transparency and gloss than other plastics (as opposed to matte colored glasses). If your main criterion for a frame is lightness, then definitely consider propionate frames.


Monel — a mixture of any of a broad range of metals — is by far the most widely used material in the manufacture of eyeglass frames. Its malleability and corrosion resistance are major pluses to eyeglass manufacturers as they help preserve the longevity of the frame.
Though most monel frames are hypoallergenic, it's possible people with sensitive skin may experience irritation if monel rests directly against their face. But this is preventable if the right kind of plating, such as palladium or other nickel-free options, is used.

Titanium and beta-titanium are also popular materials for eyeglass frames. Titanium is a silver-gray metal that's lightweight, durable, strong and corrosion-resistant. It has been used for everything from spacecraft to implantable medical devices such as heart valves.
Titanium eyewear can be produced in a variety of colors for a clean, modern look with a hint of color. And it's hypoallergenic.

Other Materials

While plastics and metals are the most common type of materials that eyeglasses are made up of, newer manufacturers are trying to stay ahead of the trends by introducing new frame material. A lot of newer eyeglass start-ups are choosing to make their frames out of wood, which are usually handmade. Or, if you’re of the eclectic sort, you could even get frames made out of bone or buffalo horn.

At Eyes on You Seattle, a downtown optometrist and optical shop, we have a frame for you. Stop by our store and test-drive our frames today. We’ve got exclusive frames waiting just for you.