HORN OF PLENTY Rigards R0008
CUSTOM FIT Kerf Eyewear MKF06



IN THE NEWS Shwood Wood and Newspaper Collection

While some eyewear buyers continue to embrace frames made from traditional plastics and metals, others have a fascination with those made from natural materials. Since these materials require some special handling, learning how to work with them should  be a top priority so you can provide all your patients with the eyewear they want.

One of the fastest-growing natural frame material segments is wood. When you are considering a wood collection, search for models with durable spring hinges and barrel screws first. These attributes make for highly adjustable frames that facilitate pantoscopic and retroscopic tilt. An adjustable hinge point allows for tightening or widening the temple away from the ear and the barrel screw prevents the need for cold-snapping prescription lenses. Wooden frames that require cold-snap inserts can be complicated to work with. They can easily splinter if not handled properly or are not crafted to the pound per square inch requirements of wood cold-snapping lenses.

Wood-frame manufacturers Shwood and Sires Crown offer some great choices. Shwood’s sunglass frames are designed to be able to snap in Rx lenses without flexing the frame material. The wood frames use a metal reinforcement ring which provides enough support to insert them.

All of the models in Sires’ collection are cold snap, and have been tested to withstand the 40 lbs. of forced needed to snap lenses into eyewear successfully. Sires also puts custom graphics on some of the frames, specializing in industry-leading comic book-patterned designs, while Shwood’s latest collection, Wood and Newspaper, features newsprint. Bamboo frames have similar attributes as wood so use the same criteria for fitting.

Some of the toughest and lightest products in the world are made from tiny strands of carbon or glass fibers that are woven and bonded to create what’s called carbon fiber. When selecting carbon fiber frames, look for models that have finishing details like smooth polished edges.

Depending on the manufacturer, carbon fiber temples can be adjusted by using the heat from a frame warmer, then immediately cooling the reshaping under cold water. Frame designs in the Kerf Eyeworks Screwless collection have adjustable carbon fiber temples that can be molded to the wearer using this technique. The Kerf Screwless frame line is maintenance-free, eliminating the need to tighten screws. A patented clip and pivot system holds the frame together using compression.

Sustainable products are a huge trend to embrace. When looking for a niche sunwear line to market, try Zeal Optics. Every plastic frame it produces is made from a plant-based resin, “Z-Resin,” which is created purely from castor bean oil. Comfortable and light, this material can adjusted using standard plastic frame warmer techniques.

Each horn frame produced is one-of-a-kind. It’s also durable, light, and does not require a wire core imbedded within the temple. In addition, genuine horn is hypoallergenic and comfortable. Key horn manufacturers to consider are FLEYE and Rigards.

While it can be difficult, the material can accept some adjustment. Horn adjusts mildly to the wearer over time from body heat. It’s recommended that a very close or perfect fit be found before the wearer commits to the purchase. Inserting lenses is also tricky since horn can crack without proper training. Try placing the cut plastic lenses in the freezer for a period of time to shrink them slightly before inserting.

Frames made from natural materials are awesome and with a little understanding and know-how, you will enjoy great success with them.

Francis Gimbel, Jr. is a licensed optician and owner of Gimbel Eye Associates in Wayne, PA.


FLEYE O11-45-4647-0000 •


Kerf Eyeworks 866-546-4561 •

Shwood 503-893-4277 •

Sires Crown 310-890-8247 •

Zeal Optics 888-454-9325 •


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