Inuit snow goggles

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Inuit goggles made from caribou antler with caribou sinew for a strap
Inuit Snow goggles from Alaska. Made from carved wood, 1880-1890CE (top) and Caribou antler 1000-1800 CE (bottom)

Snow goggles (Inuktitut; ilgaak or iggaak, syllabics; ᐃᓪᒑᒃ or ᐃᒡᒑᒃ[1]) are a type of eyewear traditionally used by the Inuit people of the Arctic to prevent snow blindness.[2] The goggles are traditionally made of a piece of bone, ivory, or wood pierced with slits.[2]

Like other Inuit language words, such as inukhuk/inuksuk,[3][4] a different word may be used in different dialects. In the Kivalliq dialect, ilgaak (ᐃᓪᒑᒃ) is used, while the North Baffin dialect uses iggaak (ᐃᒡᒑᒃ). Both words are also used to refer to sunglasses.[1]

The goggles fit tightly against the face so that the only light entering is through the slits.[2] Soot was sometimes used on the inside to help cut down on glare.[2][5] The slit is made narrow not only to reduce the amount of light entering but also to improve the visual acuity.[2] The greater the width of the slits the larger the field of view.[2]


  1. ^ a b Asuilaak Living Dictionary - snow goggles
  2. ^ a b c d e f Inuit Snow Goggles at the Vancouver Maritime Museum
  3. ^ "inuksuk". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  4. ^ Ohokak, G.; M. Kadlun; B. Harnum. Inuinnaqtun-English Dictionary. Kitikmeot Heritage Society. 
  5. ^ Snow goggles helped Arctic people survive