Perceptions Eye Health & Wellness provides the highest quality, compassionate optometry to ensure you and your family is healthy and happy.
Meet our skilled, compassionate team committed to providing exceptional eye care for you and your family.
Dr. Tara Parnell founded Perceptions Eye Health & Wellness in 2004. A North Carolina native, Tara moved to Southport in 2000, drawn to the area beaches and outdoor community lifestyle. Tara received her Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University and her Doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the North Carolina State Optometric Society, and the Southeastern District Optometric Society. She serves on the Board of Directors for the NCOS PAC and has served on the NCOS education committee for paraoptometric training.
Dr. Parnell takes a personalized approach to eye and health care and has a deep passion for learning and applying principles to help her patients build resilience and optimize their health. She continues to pursue additional training in the field of functional and nutritional medicine, and focuses on the body as a whole system, not just individual parts. This type of medicine treats the underlying cause of health and eye problems that often are overlooked. Dr. Parnell focuses on educating her patients and providing them knowledge and understanding to help them learn how to prevent eye disease and how to promote healthy eyes and vision. She is passionate about helping patients uncover the vital and often missing layer of care that helps them make lasting diet, lifestyle and behavior changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic eye disease and other systemic diseases that affect the eyes and vision. She has extensive training in dry eye disease and has developed a specialty dry eye relief center within Perceptions.
When she is not taking care of patients, she can be found hanging out with her family and friends, spending as much time outdoors in nature as possible. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time boating and enjoying our beaches. She loves to exercise and cook healthy meals because it plays such an important role in our health and wellness routine. She believes that food is medicine and we can address most chronic diseases by choosing what we put in our bodies. Dr. Parnell loves serving her patients and is dedicated to making sure they have an extraordinary, personalized experience when visiting Perceptions.
Medical Assistant/Certified Paraoptometric
Mary was born and raised in the mountains of New Hampshire and moved to the beaches of North Carolina in 2012. She joined Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness in October of 2015 as a Certified Paraoptometric. She started her career as an Optical Technician in 2010 and earned her Paraoptometric degree in 2013.
Question and Answer
1) What are you most passionate about in your role at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness?
Answer: "I am most passionate about the advanced technology and level of personalized care we are able to offer each patient."
2) What are your hobbies outside of work?
Answer: "I am a very avid reader, and enjoy boating, fishing, and home improvement projects."
Licensed Optician/ Medical Assistant
Doreen is a long time resident of North Carolina and has been with Dr. Parnell since the beginning of Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness in 2004. She began her optical career in 1990 while working on all aspects of optometry in both private practice and corporate settings. She is a registered North Carolina Licensed Optician and holds both her ABO and NCLE certifications.
Question and Answer
1) What is your favorite part about working at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness?
Answer: "My favorite part would be helping people maintain their sight- that is the most important thing."
2) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, outside of work?
Answer: "I enjoy gardening, watching football, and spending time with my family."
Marketing Coordinator/ Project Manager
Jillian moved back to North Carolina from central Pennsylvania and began working at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness in December 2019. She gained her experience as an Ophthalmic Assistant in both Ophthalmology and Optometry at Heimer Eye Care and Associates located near Penn State University. She became familiar with several ocular pathologies including chronic Dry Eye and cataract extraction while taking a special interest in diagnostic imaging.
Questions and Answers
1) What do you enjoy most about your role at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness?
Answer: "I love that Perceptions enables us to establish close relationships with our patients. We are encouraged to take the time to get to know each patient on a more personal level, which creates a friendly work environment and a family-like atmosphere within the practice."
2) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Answer: "In my spare time I enjoy photography, art, cooking, reading, New Orleans Saints football and spending time on the beach with family and friends"
Melody Blair is a licensed optician. She has been dispensing eyewear for 35 years. She loves what she does in helping people look great and see great. She enjoys going to educational seminars to keep current on all the latest trends and the newest lens technology so patients can benefit.
Questions and Answers
1) What do you enjoy most about being an Optician at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness?
Answer: "I love each and every patient and at the end of the day, I feel so great to have spent my day with them."
2) What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Answer: "In my free time, I love to walk, ride my bike and spend time on the water fishing with my husband and our dog Katie."
Patient Care Coordinator/ Medical Assistant
Stephanie moved back to North Carolina in 1994 and has been in eye care since 2012. She first began in optometry then progressed into ophthalmology. She started at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness with Dr. Parnell in September 2019 and enjoys her roles as both Patient Care Coordinator and Medical Assistant
Questions and Answers
1) What do you enjoy most about your roles at Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness?
Answer: "I enjoy meeting new people and connecting with the patients."
2) What do you like to do outside of work?
Answer: "I love fishing, reading, crossword puzzles and spending time with her family."