Prescription Eyeglasses 101

Submitted by GemStateEyes on Mon, 06/13/2022 - 11:49
ophthalmologist holding tablet and eyeglasses in optical center

When shopping for prescription eyeglasses, it is important to consider not only the price and look, but also the materials that would best suit your vision, safety, comfort, and lifestyle.

For example, if you need a strong prescription and you are heavily involved in sports, you will want a durable and flexible frame with a thin and light lense. If you are concerned about your eye safety while exposed to sunlight, you can select lenses that provide UV protection.

In this article, we cover several types of lens and frame materials to help you choose your glasses accordingly.

Lens Materials

People who are new to wearing glasses are often surprised that there isn't just one type of eyeglass lens available. However, there are many options you can choose from, so that your needs, lifestyle, and budget can all be taken into consideration. Here's a look at some common lens materials to get you started.


Glass lenses have excellent optics and can be exceptionally scratch-resistant. However, since glass is heavy, can break easily, and needs to be placed in specific frames, this type of material is rarely used for eyeglasses today.


Plastic lenses, also known as CR-39, are one of the most common materials to use for eyeglasses. They have impact resistance, they are more comfortable, easy to tint, and they are about half the weight of glass lenses.


Polycarbonate lenses are the best choice for children and active adults, since they are the most impact-resistant, and they are thinner and lighter in weight. They also provide 100% UV protection, making them a safe option for eyeglass wearers. Plus, if you have a strong prescription, polycarbonate material does not add thickness to your lens.


Trivex lenses are very similar to polycarbonate, as they also have 100% UV protection, are impact-resistant, and they are thin and light to wear. The only difference is that Trivex lenses have sharper peripheral vision and central vision.

High-index plastic

The high-index plastic lenses are necessary for those with stronger prescriptions. With this material, your vision can be corrected without adding thickness, so they are also thinner and lighter to use. What sets them apart from polycarbonate and trivex is their higher index of refraction.

In addition to the various lens materials we covered, we also offer additional options, including transition, computer lenses, and progressive lenses to ensure you find exactly what your eyes need. See the lens upgrades we offer here.

Frame Materials

Eyeglass frames typically fall under one of two categories: metal or plastic. But, within both of those categories are even more options! Here's a look at some common frame materials that you might choose from.

Metal Frames

Titanium metal is a popular choice for frames, as they are durable, corrosion-resistant, hypoallergenic, and lightweight. Titanium comes in a variety of colors, providing a modern look for your glasses.

Monel is a mixture of several metals. Even though monel tends to be hypoallergenic, it is important to make sure the metal has a coating in case it is mixed in with nickel or other metals that may cause an allergic reaction to the skin.

Beryllium is a steel-gray metal, and it is a good alternative to titanium if you want to save on costs. It is exceptionally resistant to corrosion and tarnishing, so if you do a lot of activities that involve salt water, this material is your best choice. Like titanium, beryllium is lightweight, durable, and available in several colors.

Stainless steel, an alloy of steel and chromium, is also another alternative to titanium, as it is lower in cost and has some of the same qualities, such as durability, hypoallergenic, and corrosion-resistant. However, this metal is not as light as titanium.

Flexon is an alloy of titanium, and it is a flexible material. This means if you twist or bend the frames, they spring back into shape. This metal is also hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant. Flexon is about 25% lighter in weight than most metals, so it’s a perfect option for active children.

Aluminum is often used for high-end frames, as the material gives the glasses a unique look. It is flexible, durable, and corrosion-resistant.

Plastic Frames

Zyl is a zylonite or cellulose acetate plastic material that is cost-effective, comes in many colors, and is lightweight.

Cellulose acetate propionate is a nylon-based plastic that is hypoallergenic, lightweight, and can be glossier and softer than other plastics.

Blendon nylon is a strong and lightweight plastic material most popularly used for sports frames or safety frames.

Optyl is a type of epoxy resin. This means that when it is heated, you can mold the frame to the shape of your face.

You Can Find the Perfect Glasses

These choices can be overwhelming, but we can assist with selecting the right materials for your eyeglasses! Whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you can find the best fit for your everyday activities and vision needs.

If you are interested in exploring new lenses and frames, schedule an appointment today.