Snow goggles have always played a vital role in expeditions of discovery, enabling humans to combat the effects of exposure to UV rays reflected from snow or ice. Snow blindness is sunburn of the eye. If symptoms go unnoticed for several hours, this can lead to permanent loss of vision.
The goggles here, made over a period of 150 years, range from wooden goggles used by the Inuit of Canada, to the wire gauze goggles worn by Dr Edward Wilson on the Discovery expedition 1901-04 and modern wrap-around examples. Captain Scott and his men experimented with a variety of goggles, some based on the Inuit-type slit designs, to reduce the sunlight which reached the eye. By the Terra Nova expedition in 1910-13, experiments with tinted glass led to the use of goggles that resemble modern sunglasses, though as metals can freeze to the skin they were usually lined with leather. Scott's second-in-command, Lieutenant 'Teddy' Evans noted: 'The contrast between the goggled and ungoggled state was extraordinary - when one lifted one's orange-tinted snow glasses it was to find a blaze of light that could scarcely be endured.'
Date: 1875 - present day
Collection: The Polar Museum