Eyeglasses Hinges 101: The Different Types You Need to Know

When you think about prescription eyeglasses, what’s the first thing to come to mind? Is it their color? Maybe their shape? How about their construction? While considering aesthetics of your eyeglasses is important, it’s equally crucial to pay attention  to how they’re put together.

One overlooked but vital component of eyeglasses construction is the hinges that are integral to the frames. A vital piece of the puzzle, the hinges of any given pair of eyeglasses can make or break their performance.

A great pair of hinges will mean a more comfortable and durable pair of eyeglasses that sit properly on the face, allowing you to see the world clearly. On the other hand, poorly designed hinges can result in fragile frames that slip off the face and fail to keep your lenses aligned.

Since hinges are a relatively unknown part of what goes into making a pair of prescription eyeglasses, we’ve done the research to bring you up to speed on what they are and the different types you’ll find on the market. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know and so much more.

What are Eyeglasses Hinges?

Eyeglasses hinges are a pivotal element in the creation of frames. These hinges are the minute mechanism that connect the front of the frames to the arms that rest on your ears.

Although hinges are now a standard feature in modern eyeglasses, they weren’t introduced until recent years. Previously, eyeglasses existed without hinges in a rigid design that was often uncomfortable to wear and didn’t fit well on the face.

With the introduction of hinges came the opportunity for more flexibility in designing frames. This innovation resulted in personalized eyewear that fits better on your face, ensuring day-long comfort.

Three Types of Eyeglasses Hinges

When thinking about eyeglasses hinges, there are three key types that you’ll see most often. We’ll go into more detail about each style of hinge below.

The Standard Spring Hinge

The standard spring hinge, also known as barrel hinge, is the most common type of eyeglasses hinge. This hinge style features a series of tiny metal rings, or barrels, that are stacked together and held in place by a small screw. These barrels can be easily adjusted to customize the fit of the eyeglasses.

These hinges are easy to repair, durable and affordable options to add to any pair of eyeglasses. However, adjusting them may require a trip to the optician, although you can easily do it by yourself if needed. However, mass-produced hinges of this kind might not provide the most secure fit, which can lead to some slipping during certain activities, unlike the durable and supportive OBE hinges used in all of our trendy prescription designer eyeglasses.

Flexible Spring Hinge

Building on the design of the standard barrel hinge, the flexible spring hinge takes flexibility to the next level. Often referred to as ‘flex’ hinges, these eyeglasses hinges feature a spring that allows them to bend past 90 degrees. This style of hinge is great for an active eyeglasses wearer, as it creates a fit that is more snug to the face.

Flexible spring hinges are a more modern alternative to many standard barrel hinges and require little upkeep to keep them fitting well, and comfortably. However, when they are damaged or slip, they are very difficult to repair on your own and may require the assistance of a professional.

Additionally, some designer eyeglasses frames feature proprietary technology in their spring hinges, which may mean that you need to send them back to the manufacturer for repair.

The Hingeless Design

While it may not technically be a type of hinge, the hingeless design is another significant aspect of eyeglasses frames constructions. This style is part of a fully customized eyeglasses design, with a style that does not have hinges. Rather, it is sculpted to hug the head of the wearer comfortably. This allows more stability in that the glasses will not slip off the face in any activity.

Hingeless styles are most common in industries in which having proper eyewear is crucial, such as athletic style eyeglasses and those worn by individuals participating in manual labor.

While they are great options for these purposes, hingeless designs might not fit as snugly on the nose as glasses with OBE hinges. They are also difficult to repair, as any sort of damage will result in the entire pair of frames needing to be fixed or replaced.

What are OBE Hinges

OBE hinges are a type of hinge used in eyeglass frames, particularly acetate frames. OBE stands for "Oldenburg Barrel End" and refers to a specific hinge design commonly found in high-quality acetate eyeglass frames.

OBE hinges are known for their durability and longevity. They are designed to withstand the frequent opening and closing of the temples without becoming loose or damaged.

These hinges provide stability to the glasses by securely connecting the temples to the frame front. They help keep the glasses in their proper shape and alignment.

Why We Use OBE Hinges

Now that we’ve gone through the three primary types of hinges, it’s time to talk about another key piece of the hinge puzzle - the manufacturer. While there are plenty of affordable hinge manufacturers on the market, there is one that stands above the rest - OBE.

This world-renowned company is known as ‘the hinge specialist,’ having been the industry leader in producing high-quality eyeglasses hinges since its founding in 1904.

OBE designs their hinges with the latest innovations and durable materials that mean that their hinges will stand the test of time, and continued wear. Because of their amazing performance and the company’s flawless reputation, we only use OBE hinges in our collection of premium designer eyeglasses.

It is our goal to produce the highest quality prescription eyeglasses and using OBE hinges in our frames is a key component of helping us reach this goal.

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Remember, when it comes to eyeglasses, the hinges can make or break the frames. While there are a variety of styles that are used by eyeglasses manufacturers, one style remains the best - the OBE hinge.

At Azimuth, we only use OBE hinges in all of our trendy eyeglasses frames for the most comfortable and durable prescription eyeglasses for men and women.

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