Allergies: choosing the right frame
Today, in the UK, it is considered that nearly 4% of adults and 8% of children have allergies of all kinds. One of them is not necessarily well known but is nonetheless a truly disturbing allergy on a daily basis. Allergy to spectacle frames is manifested by itching, sensations of heat or redness on the cheeks or even on the nose. In fact, every part of the skin that the frame touches. When it is essential to wear your glasses all day, it can quickly become a real nightmare. But do not panic! It is possible to overcome this discomfort by respecting a few rules, in particular in the choice of the material of your spectacle frame. Let's find out together how to choose the right eyeglass frame to avoid allergies.
What are the symptoms of an allergy to spectacle frames?
Allergies to spectacle frames are manifested mainly by symptoms in the eyes but also in the contact areas between the frame and the skin. It therefore affects the cheeks, the nose but also the ears. In these places, the skin may become red, itchy, oozing. Blisters can appear over time. It can also result in eczema, called dermatitis. In these cases, it becomes essential to consult for a diagnosis.
What is the diagnosis of an allergy to eyeglass frames?
First of all, you will have to establish the diagnosis of your allergy because the symptoms caused by this allergy can be the result of another disease such as conjunctivitis or any other eye disease. This is why it is recommended to limit the wearing of glasses, as much as possible, in order to observe changes. An appointment with the ophthalmologist is also strongly recommended because it is him who can establish a precise diagnosis. Once this is done, your doctor may prescribe allergy medication. But these will not allow you to cure it. Another solution: to be desensitized thanks to an allergist. However, the process is long and not necessarily 100% efficient. The easiest, cheapest and most logical solution will be to change your frame. Once you know which material you are allergic to, you can choose another more suitable model.
What materials should I avoid?
A large majority of eyeglass frames are made from the same materials. Nickel is thus found in most metal spectacle frames made of alloys with other metals. Nickel sulfate allergy is one of the most common, estimated to affect as many as 10% of eyeglass wearers. This type of allergies is perhaps the most restrictive because, in addition to causing redness, it causes very uncomfortable itchy eyes which are sometimes diffuse. It is therefore essential to avoid this material as much as possible, especially if you have so-called atopic skin.
For other materials, it will depend on the wearer. Some of them can trigger allergies to plastics like PVC or propionate while others will have a reaction to titanium. These are relatively rare since it only corresponds to 0.6% of the population.
Choosing the right eyeglass frame to avoid allergies
Ultimately, it is the best remedy for an allergy to eyeglass frames. Choosing the right material will help you avoid disappointments. To make the right choice, you can take advantage of the expertise of Visionet opticians to guide you in your choice and thus find the most suitable pair of prescription glasses for you.
Choosing hypoallergenic metal frames
To reduce the risk of allergy, it is common to move towards prescription eyeglass designed in hypoallergenic metal. Among these metals is pure titanium which is considered to be completely hypoallergenic. Titanium is a biocompatible material, which means that the skin tolerates it quite easily. However, you will have to be very careful to choose frames designed in pure titanium because some models, especially those with shape memory, are made from an alloy that combines titanium with nickel. This type of alloy is therefore allergenic. Your optician will be able to guide you effectively on this type of frame. Otherwise, remember to check that your eyeglasses are 100% titanium or nickel free. As said before, some people have allergic reactions to titanium but they are very rare. However, do not hesitate to check with your doctor before purchasing your new pair of prescription glasses.
Another interesting metal: surgical steel or stainless steel. It is a perfect alternative since this metal is already used in surgery, for piercings and for implants. It's the perfect metal to choose for those prone to allergies. The intolerant will be delighted to take advantage of stainless steel glasses, robust and light.
Small important detail: it is not only the frame that can cause allergies. Platelets in contact with your nose can also be responsible! It will then be necessary to think about choosing the material which composes them. Prefer silicone since it is an anti-allergic material. And don't forget to change them regularly to maintain impeccable hygiene and optimal comfort.
Choose soft plastic frames
Some eyeglass frames made from plastic materials can cause allergic reactions, but cases are rather rare. In fact, the solvents contained in these materials can be irritating to the skin in the most sensitive individuals. This is why it is advisable to opt for frames designed in cellulose acetate. In addition to being more comfortable, these are made from cotton which makes them ideal for people who are usually prone to allergies. In addition, in recent years, cellulose acetates made from organic solvents, natural dyes and cornstarch have been appearing. The risks of allergy are, therefore, drastically reduced.
In addition to being comfortable, cellulose acetate glasses are available in many possible shapes and offer great resistance over time. They are particularly appreciated by people who like to match their eyeglasses with their attire because of the wide range of colors available and the shine that cellulose acetate offers.
Opt for noble and natural materials
There is another possible option but it turns out to be a little more expensive than the metal or plastic models, you will have to choose natural materials for the frames of your glasses. Most of them are hypoallergenic. The horn, for example, whether it is from zebu, buffalo, Kudu or springbok, is an excellent alternative to alleviate the problems of allergies. It also has the merit of offering very elegant frames. Indeed, this noble material with a high price is mainly used in the manufacture of luxury spectacle frames. Often used with other natural materials such as wood, horn glasses have the advantage of being the result of an artisanal process. Handcrafted, they are all different in terms of nuances, shades and natural veins. Elegance in its purest form! Strong and light, silky to the touch, however, these are frames that require special maintenance and tend to tarnish slightly over time.
Thanks to this information, you will be able to rediscover the pleasure of wearing glasses on a daily basis without affecting your comfort or your health.