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Spectacles Parts & Glasses Glossary Part #4

All The Other Bits Of Spectacles ~ Glasses

So far in the series of Spectacles Parts & Glasses Glossary we have only really touched on the lenses. Pt 1 (spectacles lenses overview); Pt2 (spectacles lenses types/vision); Pt3 (spectacles lens coatings).  So today… step forward… the other bits! The mechanical & the cosmetic bits!  What we call the frames!

The best way to start is with a diagram. Any missing detail… I’ll add later. I’m excluding any historical types of glasses (pince-nez, monocle, and lorgnette, etc)

Bits & Bobs That Need Naming (& Might Need Repairs!)Frames are mostly made from metal or plastic and this has nothing to do with the lenses being made from glass or “plastic”.   Glasses are typically supported by pads on the bridge of the nose and by temples placed over the ears*.  The hinge can take many forms (more info in the future).  This area is one where many glasses get broken – especially in my own experience of sunglasses – and much progress has been made in recent years to make this achilles heel less susceptible.
The lens fits into the frame in a small groove and is held in place by that groove. (Thus the word “frame” I guess- it really is like a picture frame – both holding and surrounding.)
But (hang on!) there’s no name for the front here!  The top of the front of the frames are often called the brow.  Maybe the front is just called the frame?  There’ll be more on this ASAP.  I bet there’ll end up being 17 different names…
*Spectacles with “temples” passing over the ears, was developed in 1727 by the British optician Edward Scarlett


  1. laura dolby says:

    Thanks for this – I’ve not been using all the terms correctly! Now I know. And, I’m glad you’ll be explaining the hinge. They are getting increasingly complex – particularly on sunglass for sports.

  2. Michael Burns says:

    Thank you very much for this glossary. I am a medical translator and work on ophthalmological texts frequently, but I was a little worried when I had to translate the parts of spectacles for a bit on people in South America who have to make their own (that way only the cost of the lenses has to be found). Your glossary has been very useful. You are helping those people in an indirect but very real way. Thanks again.

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