Inuit Snow Goggles

Snow blindness is a sunburn on your cornea from reflected ultraviolet light, and nowhere can you become a victim of it easier than in snowy Alaska. That’s why for thousands of years indigenous peoples throughout that region have made snow goggles. Fashioned from a strip of bone, wood, or other material, with a slit cut in it, snow goggles greatly reduce glare and protect the eyes from injury. It turns out that the slit focuses the light, much as a pinhole camera does. As a result, far-off objects appear sharper and your vision is much better. The exceptional engineering talent of the Inuit, Yupik, and other Arctic peoples can be seen in the goggles they fashion for themselves. They are carved to fit the wearer’s face, with a large groove cut in the bottom where it can rest on the bridge of the nose. A pair of headband straps made from walrus hide or caribou sinew holds the goggles in place tightly against the face. Because the goggles are handmade — often by the wearer themselves — they vary in styles, shapes and sizes. Contrary to the popular belief that the Inuit snow goggles are rare, museums across the world believe that they're available in large numbers.