The goggles were used to prevent snow blindness. As the sun reflects off the snow, it creates a very bright environment; the light is too intense for the human eye. Snow blindness is a condition that temporarily obscures vision.
The Inuit made a type of snow goggle to combat the condition. They made eye coverings out of stone, wood, or ivory which had two slits as opening for the eyes. The narrow opening drastically reduced the area of vision but successfully reduced enough harmful rays of light that the condition could be prevented. Snow blindness is caused by the burning of the retinas and can be extremely painful. Symptoms usually occur six to eight hours after exposure and can range from searing pain, grainy vision, and/or loss of sight. Rarely is the blindness permanent and sight is usually returns within thirty-six hours.
MacBride Museum of Yukon History, Whitehorse