Allergy sufferers have a hard time: While a pollen allergy, glasses are beneficial, a nickel allergy raises quite a few problems. But there are alternatives to allergenic eyewear frames.
Allergies have many causes and immunological pathways.
Thus, the allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is an allergy of immediate type: the immune system overreacted in contact with the pollen immediately with sneezing attacks, swelling mucous membranes and reddened eyes. Anyone who needs a visual aid, but often has red eyes and dripping drops in the eye for relief, will opt for glasses for practical reasons.
In contrast, a contact allergy to nickel is a delayed-type allergy: several hours to days can pass between exposure to the allergen and the response - contact dermatitis. It is estimated that about two percent of all eyeglass wearers suffer from contact dermatitis. Therefore, a good optician will ask at the beginning whether and which allergies are known.
Signs of "glasses allergy"
The ophthalmic contact dermatitis should not be confused with redness on the bridge of the nose, temples or pinnae, which are mere bruises due to eyeglass weight, poor goggles fit or sweat composition.
The so-called contact dermatitis on spectacle materials, on the other hand, becomes visible in the form of eczema (itching, reddening, weeping or dry spots) at the contact points of the spectacles. Also irritations on and around the eyelids are possible. Contact allergies are a good alternative for contact allergies.
Which glasses are suitable?
However, if the choice has been made on glasses, exclude materials that could possibly cause skin irritation. If the allergy has not yet been proven, but is suspected, is in front of the purchase of an epicutaneous patch in dermatological practice.
Most contact dermatitis is caused by sockets containing nickel and copper - metals contained in almost all alloys. According to legal regulations, the points of support of the spectacles (nose bridge, overlay and temple) must be made of non-allergenic materials. But that's difficult with metal frames. Even stainless steel, titanium alloys and gold plating / gold plating contain nickel.
Anyone who has already been able to observe a skin reaction with appropriate materials, for example in watch straps or jewelry, should avoid metal frames in which the contact points are not at least sheathed or protected with "allergy coatings". Only the purest metals such as fine gold, rhodium and pure titanium are free of nickel and will most likely be tolerated.
Plastic frames, which consist exclusively of polyamide, acrylic glass or epoxy resin, are unproblematic. However, substances such as plasticizers, aging protection, dyes and antioxidants, which have allergenic potential, are frequently added to pure plastic. And also in the production of plastic glasses often nickel is used, such as in the hinges or as metal reinforcement in the temples. Over time, nickel ions can seep through fine cracks in the material and cause contact dermatitis.
If allergic persons choose plastic frames, they should be aware that silicone is used as the material for nose pads, underwire coating, and other potential skin contact points.
Natural material versions
From an allergological point of view are completely unproblematic eyeglass frames made of natural materials such as wood and horn. In particular, today's buffalo horn goggles have nothing in common with the horn frame of yesteryear.
The only foreign substance is stainless steel for the spring hinges. But they do not come in contact with the skin. Horn spectacles are very robust, need only be oiled occasionally. The material optically adapts to its wearer and becomes more and more beautiful over time.