Eyeglass Temple Types

Written by maria d. laso
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Eyeglass Temple Types
The temples also are known as the arms or legs of glasses. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The temple of the eyeglass frame is the long piece that extends over and supports the frame on or behind the ear, helping to keep the eyeglasses in place. It is also known as the earpiece, although some people refer to them as the legs or arms of the eyeglasses. There are many styles of temples, including cable bow, library, skull and spring-hinged, and they come in various materials.


The most common style in plastic frames, the skull temple is comfortable for people who wear their glasses for long stretches because it fits easily on the ear and bends slightly to the contour of the skull, lightly hugging the head.

The library or straight temple, which has almost no bend over the ear, was developed for people who need to take off and put on their glasses a lot. Also known as paddle temples, these are often used on reading glasses.

The cable-bow temple has a curved yet flexible end designed to fit around and hug the ear like a spring coil, making it harder to remove. This type of temple is helpful for athletes and children, providing both security and comfort; these are sometimes also referred to as wraparound temples.

As the name suggests, spring-hinged temples include hidden springs in the hinges that help keep the frame from slipping. Although they can cost more than other types of glasses, they tend to be less likely to break.


Today's frames are made from many different materials, allowing for variations in style, durability, colour and ease of use. The most common are plastic and metal. Each has its advantages. Plastic frames come in many colours and are usually thicker and wider than metal frames. Nylon is a durable plastic for athletes and other active wearers. Metal frames of titanium or stainless steel tend to be thinner, lightweight and strong. Some plastics and some metals are hypoallergenic.

For the Active Wearer

Some safety glasses and prescription eyeglasses for athletes use elastic temples that fit around the back of the skull, similar to a headband. They keep the glasses on snugly even during intense physical activity, windy conditions or sweating. These bands typically are adjustable. Making the front frame fit snugly against the face may create a slight vacuum that keeps out dust or paint in work situations. Workers who need prescription glasses can consider getting safety goggles fitted with prescription lenses.

Fashion Touches

If you already have a pair of glasses with a frame you like, you can update them with new temples. You can bring on some bling with jewelled temples or flash your fashionista savvy by choosing temples with a designer logo. Some glasses even come with pairs of removable temples in a variety of colourful designs to suit your mood of the day.

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