Parts of Glasses: All You Need to Know
Did you know that glasses are not just lenses and frames? Many other subparts make up the structure of spectacles, and they all have a name and a specific function.
Vision is an aspect of our life that we often take for granted. For many of us, it's only when we are told that we require vision correction that we realise how much vision improves our quality of life every day. Seeing that they are such fragile objects, we need to know the parts of eyeglasses so that if ever the need be, we are empowered to explain our requirements to an optical professional, or we can look for replacement glasses parts by ourselves at a store.
What are the parts of glasses called?
Essentially, any pair of eyeglasses has three parts: the front of the frame and the two arms, known as temples. Each of these has its subparts depending on the design and materials used. The subparts are all indicated in the labelled picture here and then explained in the list below.
By frame, it's meant everything that surrounds the lenses. It is the structure of the glasses. Frames can be made of many materials, such as plastic, acetate, metal, wood and other eco-friendly materials. They can also have different shapes and features, and they have many separate parts with specific names.
Glasses can have full-rim, semi-rim or rimless frames. The rim is the front part of the frame, which holds the lenses. It is the part of the glasses that gives them their characteristic style.
It bridges the two lenses over your nose and holds most of the weight of your glasses. It's a determining factor for how well the glasses will fit your face. Indeed, bridges vary by style to suit different face shapes.
Top bar or brow bar or sweat bar
Some glasses have a top bar placed just above the bridge between the lenses. Its purpose is either to make the frame more sturdy or to add a fashion detail. For example, most pilot models have a top bar. This piece can also be known as a double bridge.
These refer to the small oval pads that rest on your nose for a perfect fit and to prevent the glasses from slipping down. Nose pads can be set up in two ways:
Full-rim nose pads: in this case, the nose pads are sculpted as part of the frame front. They're polished to not be rough on your nose. Acetate or Plastic frames most often have sculpted nose pads which are a part of the frame front.
Push-in nose pads: in this case, the nose pads are attached to the rim. They are usually made of soft clear plastic. The bigger the pad, the more visible it is, and the lesser it is likely to "dig" into the skin. Metal frames have small bars that hold soft plastic nose pads that are adjustable. You can opt for adjustable nose pads for the best comfort.
These small pieces ("arms") attach the nose pads to the rim. They can be adjustable so you can find the best fit, and they are mainly built on metal frames.
The end pieces are found at the top outer corners of the rim. They connect the hinges to the temples and can be decorated to insert fashion details into the frame.
The hinges are the metal joints of your glasses, held together by screws or sometimes by intricate metal joins. They connect the end pieces (or frame front, as not all frames have end pieces) to the temples. Thanks to the hinges, you can easily fold and move the temples. There's a variety of hinges available which are secured in different ways, such as spring hinges.
The screws are the parts of glasses that are easier to replace if broken or lost. They hold together the two halves of a hinge and can be tightened or loosened with a little screwdriver. Most glasses repair kits include screws and a screwdriver specifically made for them.
Temples or arms
Temples are the "arms" of your frames and are located on the sides of your head, sitting on your ears. Their core function is to keep your glasses secure as you go through the day wearing them. Temples can be of the following types:
Paddle or blade or straight temple: it's a temple without a bend to it and is, therefore, completely straight.
Curl sides: also known as cable temples and typically found in metal frames, the part of the temple close to the ear curls at the ends for a comfortable fit.
Drop or hockey end or swan neck: it is the most common design found in modern eyeglass frames. These frames bend downward to create a secure fit behind your ears.
The temple tips are placed at the end of the temples. They are made from a different and more comfortable material because they aim to protect the skin behind your ear from irritation.
Lenses are the most crucial part of your prescription glasses. They're chosen according to the prescription details from your optometrist for correcting your vision problems (like astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia). Lenses can be made of various materials and then customised with many different coatings, such as anti-scratch, anti-fog and anti-glare, and add-ons like transitions, polarisation, zFORT® blue block, tinting and mirror.
According to your prescription and needs, your optician will point you in the right direction regarding which lenses to choose.
Know your glasses anatomy
Now that you know the different parts of glasses, it'll be easier to identify them on your prescription glasses or explain what is wrong with them to your optician. Moreover, you should know that all the terms discussed here also apply to parts of sunglasses, blue light glasses and reading glasses alike. Make sure you also learn how to take care of your glasses at home.
You can always refer to this article and our labelled picture if you need support with your glasses' anatomy. For anything else related to eye care and eye health, you can always visit our online Optical Center or speak to our certified online opticians.