Rimless vs. Full Rim Glasses

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Make a statement with stylish eyeglasses.
Make a statement with stylish eyeglasses. (Image: Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images)

A smart pair of spectacles can add a sophisticated touch to your overall style. From the great variety of eyeglass frames that are available, choose from two main categories -- rimless or full rim glasses. Your style expectations, eye protection needs, prescription strength and lifestyle habits determine what type of glasses will frame your face on a daily basis.

Frame Your Face

From a style perspective, there are key differences between rimless and full rim frames. Rimless styles allow for the most unobstructed view of your face. They appear sleek and sophisticated, and can bring an air of professionalism to the wearer. Women who wear rimless glasses do not have to worry about their makeup clashing with frame colors. On the other hand, full rim eyeglasses can lend a specific vibe to your everyday look, depending on the design and color of the frames. Vintage-style thick plastic frames add credibility to hipster style, while sharp metal frames bring executive-level panache to a professional look. Keep eye makeup at a minimum in rimmed glasses so you don't overwhelm your total look.

Protect Your Peepers

A major difference between rimless and full rim eyeglasses is the level of lens protection each offers. Fully exposed rimless lenses may chip and crack along the edge of the lenses more easily, which makes them suitable only for children 10 and older and for adults. Whether plastic or metal, full rim glasses offer more protection because the lenses are enclosed within the frame. This makes them a good choice for small children and those with limited mobility. In the event of a trip or fall, full rim frames would not break as easily as rimless glasses.

Love Your Lenses

Gauge the thickness of your prescription lenses when deciding between rimless or full rim frames. Higher-strength eye prescriptions, such as those of 500+ or more, require lenses that are relatively thick. Rimless frames do not accommodate these thick lenses, and even certain delicate metal frames may not be strong enough to support higher-strength prescriptions.

Get Up and Go in Your Glasses

Examine your lifestyle for clues as to which type of eyeglass frame to wear. For athletic and active types, the risk of damaging delicate rimless eyeglasses is high. If you regularly run, hike or play sports in your glasses, choose full-rimmed spectacles in metal or plastic. In a work environment, rimless glasses can convey professionalism and style. You may need to get glasses in both styles to accommodate your individual lifestyle.

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