By Denis Langlois

Health experts have been warning people to avoid close contact with others and practice social distancing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.

But this directive has created a challenge for some health professionals who must get close to their patients as part of their job. This includes opticians who have to take pupillary distance measurements on a daily basis.

With an eye on this challenge, Elliott Spiro developed a solution in the early days of the public health emergency.

The Montreal-area optician invented and designed a pupillometer breath shield that allows eye care professionals to take measurements using their existing pupillometer with minimal physical contact.

“After our design appeared on Facebook and LinkedIn, we were inundated with requests asking where it could be purchased,” says Spiro, an optician at Centre de Vision Lalonde Spiro.

“As a result, we decided to make these shields available to other opticians and optometrists facing the same challenges.”

The shield is created with quarter-inch plexiglass and features a lightweight PVC stand and shelf. It’s 19 inches high by 12 inches wide.

Spiro said the pupillometer is securely positioned on a sturdy stand, so there’s no need for the patient to touch it in order for the optician to achieve a stable measurement.

The device is simple to set up, portable and easy to clean, he says.

Each shield has been tested and manufactured in Canada.

They can be purchased via McCray Optical Supply Inc. or by emailing

More information is available at