WOONSOCKET, R.I.—In line with what company executives describe as CVS/pharmacy's evolution into a leading health destination, five CVS/pharmacy stores in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. market will begin to offer optical services starting in late October through mid-November, according to an announcement from CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). The company also said that it is bringing hearing centers to seven CVS/pharmacy stores in the Dallas and Cleveland markets.

“Hearing and optical services are a great fit with the existing health offerings in our stores, including industry-leading pharmacy products and services, our MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics and a comprehensive smoking cessation program," said Andrew Sussman, MD, president of CVS/minuteclinic and executive vice president and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health. "By expanding our retail health offerings into vision and hearing services, we are providing customers a convenient, single destination on their path to better health."

The optical services to be offered at select CVS/pharmacy stores “will combine convenience, affordability, access, style and expertise all in one location,” a spokesperson said. She told VMail, “We also offer over 600 varieties of frames, to ensure people with all different tastes, preferences and needs can find what they’re looking for, and will be rotating many styles on a regular basis to always provide the most current trends to our customers. CVS/pharmacy will be working with an outside laboratory to provide the prescription lenses for our customers.”

Dr. Sussman, along with Judy Sansone, the SVP of CVS’ front store business and chief merchant for CVS Health, are jointly overseeing this new service. "Over the past year, we have eliminated tobacco products from all of our stores, added healthy food options, and created a stronger connection between health and beauty," said Sansone. "Now, by taking these first steps into providing hearing and optical services, we continue to evolve our retail locations into a leading destination for convenient and accessible health services."

When asked about CVS’ longer-term expectations and expansion plans for vision care and eyewear, the CVS spokesperson also told VMail, “We will use learnings from these locations to determine how we can continue to serve our customers and help them on their path to better health in innovative ways. While we are excited about the potential to expand these services to other markets in the future, we have no additional details to share at this time.”

The company said Optical Services at CVS/pharmacy in select Baltimore/D.C. locations, will be available seven days a week later this fall. Services will include comprehensive eye exams by an optometrist three days a week for both walk-ins and appointments; prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses; access frames and sunglasses from fashionable, popular brands for women, men and children; and free cleanings and adjustments. Many insurance plans will be accepted. All eyeglasses will have a 90-day total-satisfaction guarantee, and can be returned for any reason during this period for a full refund. Glasses purchased for children up to age 14 will be covered by a one-year guarantee.

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways; its unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs, according to the company’s website.

The company noted that the Hearing Centers at CVS/pharmacy, which will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays, are staffed by licensed audiologists and hearing instrument specialists who are able to assess hearing needs using computerized equipment in the centers' soundproof booths. The centers will offer a variety of hearing aid products and custom ear plugs, as well as provide services such as free hearing screenings and free in-store hearing checks and cleanings. The Hearing Centers will also offer innovative noise simulation testing to demonstrate to patients the improvements that hearing aids can provide during different life experiences. Many insurance plans will be accepted for the hearing services available.