20% OFF frame & lenses!

Eyeglasses Temples: Everything You Need to Know

Shu Kie

Written By:

Shu Kie

Updated: 23 July 2024 •  
share via facebook share via twitter share via linkedin share via email

Eyeglass temples are one of the most important parts of your glasses. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to wear them at all! Having a pair that fits correctly can ensure you get the most out of your glasses and enjoy them for years to come.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about eyeglass temples!

What is a temple arm?

woman showing off her eyeglasses temple arm

Temple arms play a big role in a frame’s look and feel. Frame: Dalmatian

When looking at a pair of glasses, you’ll find that it’s composed of numerous parts such as the lenses, bridge, and of course, temple arms.
So, what are temple arms? They are the long “arms” typically made out of metal or plastic that connect to your frames and extend from the hinges to over your ears. Their main function is to make sure your glasses sit securely on your face.
Temple arms also vary in length, a factor that plays a huge part in how well frames fit your face. The length can start from 120mm and go all the way up to 150mm.

Types of eyeglass temples

Temples can be divided into five basic categories. Here’s how to tell apart a skull, library, convertible, riding bow, and comfort cable.
types of eyeglasses temples include skull library convertible riding bow and comfort cable

The 5 categories of eyeglasses temples. Source: Optical Training


1. Skull temple arms

This type is often considered to be more traditional, as it’s found on most styles of glasses and sunglasses. Skull temples keep glasses secure on your head by bending down behind and around your ear. They are also easily modifiable and adjustable for maximum comfort.

2. Library temple arms

Also known as straight-back temples, library temples are generally straight and hold up the glasses by exerting pressure against the side of the head. This type of temple usually begins with an average width at the ears’ end and gets wider towards the frames.

3. Convertible temple arms

This type of temple is flexible in terms of what they are used for. Without any modifications, it just looks like a straight line. However, as the name suggests, you can convert it from one shape to another by bending it. In other words, you can convert these into either skull or library temples.

4. Riding bow temple arms

Riding bow temples have thin, long plastic ends that wrap around the ears. These ends curve around the ear and extend to the ear lobe. They are more often used in safety eyewear and children’s frames. However, they do have a downside which is that they’re more difficult to remove.

5. Comfort cable temple arms

Comfort cable temples share some similarities with riding bow temples. They’re best for physically active wearers and children, as well as those with high-prescription glasses.
What distinguishes them is that comfort cable temples have a springy cable of coiled metal that’s sometimes encased within a plastic or silicone sleeve. The tightness of the curl can be adjusted along with the whole length of the temple, which allows the back to be fitted perfectly to the wearer’s ear curve.
Need help adjusting your eyeglasses at home? We’ve got just the guide for you.

What materials can temple arms be made from?

eyeglasses with different looks

At Mouqy, we offer eyeglass temples in a range of materials.

Each material brings its own unique style and differing degrees of comfort, so it’s vital you select yours carefully.

Plastic and polymer temple arms

bay oval green side view

Plastic/polymer temple arms can be molded according to one’s face shape. Frame: Bay

In this category, it’s common to go for temple arms that are made of plastic or acetate. These are affordable and flexible materials that are ideal for everyday life. They’re comfortable and easy to wipe clean.
The main drawback with these types of material is that it’s not as durable as metal, and might break more easily as a result. By consulting your eye care provider, you’ll be able to determine which materials fit your needs and lifestyle best.

Metal temple arms

designer round black silver side view

Metal temple arms are durable and resistant to corrosion. Frame: Designer

Different types of metals can also be used to make eyeglass temples. These materials can be anything from gold, silver, and aluminum to titanium, stainless steel, and beryllium.
While they’re all forms of metal, they still have their own pros and cons. For instance, titanium tends to be lighter and more hypoallergenic than most other metals. Gold can sound like a classy choice, but is obviously more expensive and not as durable as aluminum or stainless steel.
Metal is usually the preferred choice of temple arms due to its malleability and resistance to corrosion.

Other materials for temple arms

burgundy aviator brown side view

A wooden texture for a distinct, natural character. Frame: Burgundy

Materials under this category are pretty unusual as they’re not often found in the market. The reason for this is that while they can set you apart from the crowd, the individuality they offer usually comes at a steep price.
Some prime examples are natural materials like wood, bone, ivory, and leather. However, just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean they’re more durable. The higher price point on these comes from their rarity and distinguished look.

How long should temple arms be?

As mentioned earlier, temple arms are usually around 120mm to 150mm in length. If you want to know how long yours should be, it’s best that you consult your eye care provider and let them know about what you use glasses for.
From there, they’ll give you a proper measurement by measuring your head and adjust the length of the temple arms based on your lifestyle. For instance, if you have an active lifestyle, the temple arm length should fit extra securely on your head to keep your glasses from coming off.
You can learn more in our guide to finding your glasses measurements.

Now you know all about temple arms!

Temple arms or temples are one of the most significant areas of one’s eyewear. Now that you know all about them, you can confidently look for a pair that matches your measurements, needs and style.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of frames and temples, Mouqy has got you covered. Have fun browsing all our designs!

Shu Kie

Written by:

Shu Kie

Shu Kie is Mouqy’s certified optician with over 5 years of experience in the optical industry. She earned her certification from Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

Frames in This Post