Home > babies with glasses, glasses, kids with glasses, toddlers with glasses > Let the debate begin: metal vs plastic frames

Let the debate begin: metal vs plastic frames

It’s a question that has torn families apart, ended friendships, started feuds.  Ok, not really.  But the question seems to come up a lot.  Do you prefer wire frames or plastic frames for your child?  What have you found to be pros and cons of each?  If your child has worn glasses for a while now, has your preference changed with your child’s age?

We started Zoe with a pair of wire-frame glasses.  I loved how they looked, and while they did get bent out of shape, they were easily re-shaped (I know some of the flex frames are designed to not get bent out of shape as often).  The saddle bridge kept them up on her nose, and they rarely slid.

Zoe's first glasses - wire frames

Since then, we’ve always gotten plastic frames.  We couldn’t find metal frames that had the saddle bridge on the nose piece, and we worried that frames with nose pads would have the pieces break off or cause discomfort – her sunglasses have nose pads, and they’ve never fit right on her nose, no matter how many times we’ve taken them in for adjusting.  Her plastic frames need a lot fewer adjustments, and seem a bit more sturdy.  But they slide down her nose  a lot more, and when they are sitting on her face correctly, they sit closer to her eyes, and so get brushed by her eye lashes more often.  (I’ve noticed this with my latest pair of glasses – also plastic that sit right on my nose – these things get dirty all the time – usually with eyelid prints on the inside of the lenses.  If mine get so dirty so often, I assume that Zoe’s are dirty all the time).

Zoe's plastic Lafont frames

So where do you fall in the question of plastic vs metal frames?

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  1. Amy Keller
    April 25, 2011 at 2:52 am

    We have also tried both plastic and wire-framed glasses. I find that both kinds needed adjusting about equally for my 2-1/2-year-old, but the plastic ones need less adjusting for my 6-1/2-year-old.

    I got so fed up with going in for weekly adjustments for my son (2-1/2) that we just bought his second pair of Miraflex plastic frames – we LOVE them! The first pair were round, blue and rather obtrusive. I felt like everyone noticed the glasses and not the child. I got a lot of questions about whether they were real (no – I chose to put glasses on my 13-month-old!) He had a new prescription and broke a plastic pair, so we ordered new Miraflex ones. The new ones are dark brown, rectangular and not at all obtrusive. Best of all – they are virtually indestructible and worth every penny!

    My 6-1/2-year-old daughter likes to have both a wire-rimmed pair (purple) and a plastic pair (pink). She doesn’t alternate from day-to-day, but rather goes through phases when she wears one for a few weeks and then wears the other for a few weeks. I have been noticing lately though that the plastic ones are hitting her eyelashes. She claims it doesn’t bother her, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t.

    Very interested to hear all the other opinions!

  2. Melissa
    April 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I don’t guess that I have a preference, but my 5 year old does. She prefers plastic, always. Her lashes are very long and thing and I often see them brushing her lenses as well, but she’s never complained. We have a wire pair, and are on our second plastic pair and she always chooses the plastic. Her current ones are black shrek frames. Very retro and she gets all kinds of compliments on them. Her wire frames are a pinkish-silver toned pair which we had fitted with cable temples. Although she’s 5, she’s quite small and still needs toddler sized frames.

    Anyway, she can’t really explain why she likes the plastic, but I think it has to do with the nose pieces of the wire frames. She’s always plucking at them when she’s wearing the wire frames. In fact, yesterday for Easter, with her dress and all, I asked her to wear her pink wire frames, since black shrek glasses just didn’t “go”. She agreed, but she couldn’t wait to get back home and switch!

  3. April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    James (2.5) started with wire Easy Twist glasses in November – his first pair ever. His older brother dubbed him Baby Harry Potter and he did look super adorable in them. One problem, as others have stated, is that they required many trips back to get adjusted. James also doesn’t wear his glasses often – he usually wears a contact lens for his cataract but has glasses for those days when the contact isn’t in. I felt it was too many trips to the optometrist for something he wore maybe once a week. The other problem w/ the wire frames was that they just never sat right on his face – constant sliding down his nose and he would look over the lenses like a little old man with reading glasses. So we went back and got Fisher Price plastic frames. These sat much better on his face and covered more of his eye. They still slid some, but not nearly as much.

    In other news though, James fell and broke said plastic glasses last week. In a spectacular collision with his brother, he fell on his face (at an ice cream parlor) and his glasses broke causing the hinge to break off and cut his eyebrow. He needed 8 stitches which have since come out. He keeps asking for his glasses and even his contact lens because the cut is over his cataract eye. He has a few more days of healing before we can attempt either. I am considering Miraflex for his next pair.

    • May 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Miraflex is the way to go! They are PERFECT! My 15 month old wears them and we have no problems.

  4. ingrid
    April 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Paris wears wire frames simply becasue they stay up more and it drives me nuts pushing them up her nose all day. That said however, the wire ones still do fall down from time to time! I also notice that when the glasses are pushed up properly they really do brush on her lashes, she doesnt complain but that would drive me bananas! But what do you do, if they are not pushed right up she looks straight over them and the PO said that is one of the main reasons he sees no improvement in some kids eyes when they are wearing glasses. Paris’s new glasses, although they are lovely on her, are more of a rectangle shape and she does look over them! Next time I think i am going to seek a pair of frames that really cover her whole eye more. Any suggestions? I wear plastic frames and I definitely find them more comforable though and very light. I think it comes down to personal choice and what works best for the individual child. I am looking forward to when Paris is a little older and she can tell me exactly which ones she prefers for comfort as at the end of the day that is the most important thing when you have to wear them all day every day.

  5. Stacee
    April 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    My daughter Payton (2 years old) has been wearing glasses since she was 20 months old. Her first pair was a metal frame by Flexon. We loved the look since it was simple, the frames were flexible and they came with cable temples. About a month after having them she face planted at daycare and we were going to be without them for a few days, so we decided it was time for a backup pair. We went in thinking we’d get the exact same pair she had only a different color and that’s when we found “the pair”!! We tried on a brown plastic frame with no cable temples just to see how they fit and they were adorable! Her Dr. was able to heat the temple and bend it just enough that it hugs around her ear (not completely like the metal frames with cable temples), but they sit on her face so much better! She will pick the plastic frames 10x over the metal. I think it’s because she has a petite face the nose pieces on the metal frames make them set out just a bit too far, where as the plastic frames set closer to her eyes. I feel like she doesn’t struggle to look through the plastic frames which makes her happy and makes me happy! I thought glasses were going to be a struggle and it was obvious from the moment we put them on her that she can see better… she loves her “eyes” as she calls them!

  6. amberhj
    April 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Zoe is a style icon if you ask me. I’ve loved every pair she’s had.

    We’ve only done Lafonts so far, which I guess count as plastic though there is metal in the temples. So far I don’t have a preference though. We take it on a frame by frame basis. Whatever is cute, whatever Stella will wear–preferably without breaking immediately.

  7. April 27, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Adam just got his first pair of glasses about a month ago. We chose wire frames because they seemed the most “natural” looking. The plastic frames we tried looked cute when we picked them up but on his face, looked like, “Hello! Here are my glasses!!” These frames do have little nose pads (not sure what the technical term is) that keep getting bent and his glasses do slide down quite often. We’ve gotten them adjusted several times but have sort of given up for now. He’s going to need a new prescription for his left eye in the next couple weeks after having his cataract surgery two weeks ago, so we’ll get them adjusted again then. Adam’s doing well with pushing his glasses back up his nose himself when they slide down. It’s interesting to hear what people think about the plastic frames…we might have to try those next time!

  8. Emily
    April 27, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Makenna started out at 16 months with wire frames and cable temples…they were very cute, but did not last long-we went through two frames in six months! They also did not stay up on her nose well and often needed to be pushed up. SO round three I bought plastic thinking that would be lighter and fit better…not so much. Due to her lenses the plastic frame actually fell down on her nose more often, and we had to change them out within a few months because the fit was just simply not working-too many adjustments and they were forever falling down. I had a hard time finding a local eye clinic that sold Miraflex frames, but finally one clinic took on this line and I snatched up our first pair about 9 months ago. Makenna had just turned 2 and they are absolutely PERFECT. They fit perfect, they are super durable, and the color is light pink and they look great. A little different looking to get used to at first…but now I can’t imagine her in anything else! Since her prescription hasn’t changed we have had the same frames since then and I am sure they will continue to last much longer than she will need them/or fit into them. I cannot say enough how much better Miraflex frames have been as far as the fit and no longer needing to push her frames up. She loves them too because she can take them on and off herself with no worries of bending them. Hope that helps!

  9. Kerrie G
    April 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I took my son (21 months) to a pediatric eye doctor today for a cut on his cornea. The doctor said the cut will heal fine in a few days but he needs glasses!! I was very overwhelmed and my son’s eye hurt to bad today to “shop” for glasses. I found your blog while searching for toddler glasses and this post has really been informative.
    Thanks =)

  10. Joanne
    April 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Matthew has only had the ONE pair of glasses (touch wood), and we are coming up a year in July!! Very surprising considering he is a very boisterous 3 year old.. I have to admit we have had a lens replaced due a face plant on the driveway!!

    We went straight for wire frames, and as superficial as it sounds, the main reason was the look. Neither my husband or I were keen on the ‘chunkier’ plastic style.

    I love how light they are, and yes they do get knocked out of shape on a regular basis, but my hubby and I have become experts at adjusting them with a gentle bend and twist here and there :)

    We get so many comments from strangers who say he looks just like the little boy from the Jerry Maguire/Little Vampire/Stuart Little movies, and Matthew doesn’t half LOVE the attention.

    We will definitely be sticking with the wire frames :) Great to hear all the other stories/opinions!

    • Mary
      May 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      that’s so funny about looking like the kid from Jerry Maguire! we have had that comment too, especially when our son’s hair stuck up more ;)

  11. May 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    My son is 15 months old and has had his Miraflex frames a little over a month now. I LOVE them!!! PERFECT for a toddler. His lashes do brush the frame (Well, one eye does, the other is in a patch all day!) but that does not outweigh the pros of hte plastic frames. He takes them off and they don’t break! And, when he falls (he’s a boy, this happens a lot) I don’t worry about them breaking and cutting him. He has the round, blue, very obvious frames and my reasoning on this was that he is a small child in glasses and there is really no way of hiding it. We might as well embrace it! He looks so stinkin cute, too! Plastic all the way for toddlers!!

  12. Mary
    May 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    We have had both metal and plastic frames for the kids over the years. We have, overall, done better with metal frames due to the adjustable nose pieces and temples. (with plastic frames, unless they are perfectly fitted to the bridge of the nose, they tend to slide around and can’t be adjusted as easily)

    However, we have had some difficulty with heavy / straight-edged metal frames due to our kids’ high energy levels. Our daughter has fallen a few times in dance class and just while goofing around at home, and gotten scratched on the face by her frames. If your child has metal glasses with chunky or straight edges, consider getting sports glasses for active wear. (like professional athletes wear — they come in kids’ sizes!) We may get a pair of sports glasses for our son as he gets more into soccer; he will be in kindergarten in the fall. One of my daughter’s schoolmates wears sports glasses all the time and he looks super in them!

    Hope this is helpful!

    • Mary
      May 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      I need to add that if I had it to do over again, I would have gotten Miraflex for each of my kids’ first pairs, especially for my son when he was just 13 months! They seem outstanding for toddlers.

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