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What are Eyeglasses Frames?

Eyeglasses with rectangular frames.
Black eyeglasses.
Eyeglasses frames have evolved over the years, most often depending on what styles are in fashion.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Eyeglasses frames are the devices that make it possible to properly position eyeglass lens, allowing the wearer to see through the lens without having to hold them in place using the hands. A basic pair of frames includes a main body housing the two lens, plus two arms that rest on the ears as a means of keeping the lenses in place. There are many different types of frames on the market today, ranging from simple functional models to elaborate designs that are intended to add a bit of fun to the task of wearing corrective lenses.

One of the benefits of eyeglasses is that they allow people with less than perfect vision to enjoy the same visual acuity as other people. The lenses themselves vary in materials, with lightweight plastic blends being the most popular option today. The design of eyeglasses frames has changed over the years, often in conjunction with current fashion trends. From this perspective, eyeglasses frames may be understood as one way to make a fashion statement or identify with a specific subculture within a larger society.

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In times past, basic eyeglass rims were often simple metal frames that were more functional than stylish. These simple thin frames held the lenses in place and often features arms that included a wrap around section at the end of each arm designed to securely encircle the ear. For people who needed to wear the glasses constantly, this extra bit of fit meant the glasses would not slip down the nose, even when the individual was bending over to perform a task.

Rimless eyeglasses also became a popular type of eyeglasses frames in the early years of the 20th century. The arms and a nose rest were attached with screws to the lens, effectively foregoing any type of framing around the lenses themselves. While simplistic in design, rimless types never gained the popularity of designs featuring a full frame, as the glasses were essentially of no use at all if one of the lenses was damaged.

By the middle of the 20th century, eyeglasses frames were moving into a new era where style was just as important as substance. Instead of simple frames encompassing round lenses, bold black frames sporting oval and square designs became very popular. Eyeglasses frames for ladies often featured tiny faux jewels in the outside corner of each rim on the pair of glasses.

During the same period, sunglasses sporting wild colors and oversized designs became popular options for recreational wear. The eclectic mixture of colors, sizes, and designs of clothing during the decade of the 1960’s continued this trend, borrowing some of the spectacular sunglass frames and incorporating them into what were considered groovy and funky eyeglasses frames that were ideal for a young and hip generation.

The final decades of the 20th century saw innovations in eyeglass design that emphasized a more subdued appearance while taking advantage of advances in technology. Lighter lenses were coupled with toned down but still fashionable eyeglasses frames that were ideal for wear in the workplace as well as other venues. That trend has continued into the 21st century, where eyeglasses may be coupled with a wide assortment of frames that compliment the age, gender, and personal tastes of the person who will wear the corrective eyewear.

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