Allergies to Frames

Many people have allergies to certain materials.  This may be the frame of glasses/spectacles or the material used in the nose pad. 

Nickel Allergy

Nickel can be problematic for many people and frames are often made of a nickel alloy instead of pure nickel.  If you are allergic to nickel, the reaction develops after exposure to the nickel frame.  This may be after prolonged exposure, depending on your susceptibility.  Some people have more of an adverse reaction than others and the allergy can occur at any age.  Once this contact allergen touches the skin, it typically manifests a few days later, initially with eczema.  This may be itchy and become dry and sore.  In severe cases you may experience a skin rash and watery blisters.  Rarely, other parts of the body may develop symptoms but affects are usually restricted to the eye area.  Once a nickel allergy has developed, it can be chronic and you may always suffer from this allergy.  If you think you may have a nickel allergy, you may need to be seen by a dermatologist for patch testing.  It is advisable to consult your general practitioner.

Many other metal frames are however hypoallergenic, which means there is a reduced risk of allergy.  These include titanium, aluminium, stainless steel, zinc, copper and beryllium.  Gold and silver are also good alternatives although frames made from just gold or silver, do not exist. 

Plastic frames are usually fine for people susceptible to allergies.  Most plastic glasses are made of zylonite (zyl) or propionate.  Other plastic frames include propionate, polyamide, optyl and nylon, and these are hypoallergenic.

Nose Pad Allergy

If you have developed allergy like symptoms to your spectacles, you may be allergic to the nose pads on metal frames.  These are often made of silicone or acetate and also of PVC, metal or rubber.  

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