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What are Goggles?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Goggles are eyeglasses that are closely fitted and aim to protect the eye. The name comes from the word goggle, which means to stare, roll, or bulge the eyes. There are several kinds, including safety goggles used in various professions and locations and different types of sports goggles.

Safety goggles are used to protect the eye from impact, heat, and chemicals. Those for use in the desert protect the eyes from sand and those with military grade are used in military operations to protect eyes from shrapnel. Fire and rescue goggles are designed to work with fire helmets and protect the eyes from heat. Perforated versions are designed to prevent fogging, while protecting the eyes from larger debris. They are suited for woodworking, for example. Splash goggles are a form of lab goggle which or ventless or have covered vents to that the wearer is protected from splashing liquids. Welding goggles have a hard shell and are designed to be worn over safety glasses, adding an extra layer of protection from irradiation, heat, and debris.

Tactical goggles have features like turbo exhaust and special night vision features. Panoramic Night Vision Goggles (PNVG’s) have been used in the Air Force since April, 2005. They provide a 95-degree field of view, compared to the 40 degrees offered by regular ones. Night vision versions are also used for night sky tracking of phenomena such as comets, asteroid showers, and other astronomical observations.

Those for swimming are designed to protect eyes from the water, weather chlorinated or not and improve underwater vision. They can be made with prescription lenses, Ear protective goggles (EPGs) are an innovation in swim accessories, designed to protect both eyes and ears, that was patented in 1998.

Those make for skiing are built for durability and comfort. They often come with a choice of lenses to match the lighting conditions. A recent invention is “magic goggles.” These are ski goggles that switch tints when a button is pressed. This allows skiers and snowboarders to adjust a key element of safety by adapting their vision to the ambient light, literally on the fly, if conditions change.

In July, 2006, Glasgow University researchers announced a real, working type of x-ray goggles. Planned for use in counterterrorism and security, they see through clothes and suitcases. This eyewear has raised privacy issues, even as it creates visions of normal people having what used to be thought of as superhero powers.

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Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth , Writer
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for Sports&Hobbies, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.

Discussion Comments

By spasiba — On Jun 09, 2009

Goggles can be also used around the house, even though they were not intended for that purpose. When you work around products that can harm or irritate your eyes, why not use goggles.

If I have a lot of onions to chop, goggles come in quite handy.

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth


Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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