Laboratory safety advisory about the importance of protective goggles, 1955

Goggles, or safety glasses, are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particulates, water or chemicals from striking the eyes. They are used in chemistry laboratories and in woodworking. They are often used in snow sports as well, and in swimming. Goggles are often worn when using power tools such as drills or chainsaws to prevent flying particles from damaging the eyes. Many types of goggles are available as prescription goggles for those with vision problems.


An Inuk man wearing snow goggles

The Inuit and Yupik carved snow goggles from the antlers of caribou, wood, and shell to help prevent snow blindness. The goggles were curved to fit the user's face and had a large groove cut in the back to allow for the nose. A long thin slit was cut through the goggles to allow in a small amount of light, diminishing subsequent ultraviolet rays. The goggles were held to the head by a cord made of caribou sinew.

Aviator Wilmer Stultz in 1928

In the early 20th century, goggles were worn by drivers of uncovered cars to prevent irritation of the eyes by dust or wind.[1] Likewise in the first ten years after the invention of the airplane in 1903 goggles became a necessity as wind blow became more severe as aircraft speeds increased and as protection against bugstrikes at high altitudes. The first pilot to wear goggles was probably Charles Manly in his failed attempt to fly Samuel Langley's aerodrome in 1903.


The requirements for goggles varies depending on the use. Some examples:

Swimming goggles
Safety goggles and helmets, Bell Aircraft, 1943
Blowtorching goggles
A professional skier wearing ski goggles. The skier is also wearing a blue helmet and holding skis over her shoulder.
A professional skier wearing ski goggles


Goggles are often worn as a fashion statement in certain subcultures, most often as part of the cybergoth subculture. They are usually worn over the eyes or up on the forehead to secure 'falls': a type of long, often brightly coloured, synthetic hairpiece. Fans of the steampunk genre or subculture also frequently wear steampunk-styled goggles, particularly when performing in a live action role-playing game.

Goggles are also frequently used by anime and manga characters as a fashion statement. For example, it is an idiosyncrasy of team leader characters in the Digimon anime to wear goggles. Other notable characters who wear goggles are the young Naruto Uzumaki and Konohamaru from Naruto, Matt from Death Note and Usopp from One Piece.


Bullfighting horse wearing eye protection
A U.S. Army Belgian Malinois wearing Doggles-brand goggles to protect his eyes from dust in Afghanistan

Goggles are available for horses used in speed sports such as horse racing.[11] In some traditions of horse mounted bullfighting, the horse may wear a protective cloth over its eyes.

Goggles have been used on military working dogs, for protection in harsh conditions, such as sandstorms and rotorwash from helicopters.

See also


  1. ^ Alfred C. Harmsworth (1904). Motors and Motor-driving. Longmans, Green, and Company. p. 73.
  2. ^ "Ski goggle pioneer Bob Smith dies". Fox Sports. 2012-04-27. Archived from the original on 2020-06-27. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  3. ^ US 4528701, Smith, Robert E., "Goggle with a renewable protective surface", published 1985-07-16 
  4. ^ US 4428081, Smith, Robert E., "Goggle with a renewable protective surface", published 1984-01-31 
  5. ^ "Sport Conrad". Archived from the original on 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  6. ^ Kaddoura, Zeid (December 28, 2022). "Best Squash Goggles". The Racket Life. Archived from the original on February 20, 2023. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  7. ^ "Sports injuries: 'I never saw it coming' - Optician". Archived from the original on 2023-02-20. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  8. ^ "Epidemiology of Injury in Gaelic Handball – Irish Medical Journal". Archived from the original on 2023-03-28. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  9. ^ Meeker, Miranda; Kehl, LeAnna (2020). "Substance use: Are specialized goggles effective at preventing impaired driving". Skeptical Inquirer. 44 (3): 56.
  10. ^ Jewell, J; Hupp, S.D. (2005). "Examining the effects of fatal vision goggles on changing attitudes and behaviors related to drinking and driving". Journal of Primary Prevention. 26 (6): 553–565. doi:10.1007/s10935-005-0013-9. PMID 16228116. S2CID 19762828.
  11. ^ Landers T. A. (2006) Professional Care of the Racehorse, Revised Edition: A Guide to Grooming, Feeding, and Handling the Equine Athlete. Blood Horse Publications. 308 pages. Page 138.