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Across from the Walgreen’s on North Howe Street

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Our Eye Doctor

Eye care professionals specialize in understanding how the human eye really works, as well as diseases and conditions that affect your vision—many of which do not always have obvious symptoms. Eye doctors know how age and risk factors affect vision over time for young and old, and they understand the benefits and features of corrective lenses, both as eyeglass lenses and contact lenses.

Our optometrist takes the time to explain the results of your eye exam, describe your options and listen to your eye care needs. Because maintaining good eye health is an ongoing partnership, we encourage you to ask questions and share your health information, which could be vital to monitoring, diagnosing and treating potential vision problems.

Meet our doctor:


Dr. Tara Parnell

Dr. Parnell received her undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University. She completed her Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. She completed internships in retina and ocular disease in Raleigh, North Carolina and Farmington, New Mexico, as well as in primary care in Sanford, North Carolina.

After completing her education, Dr. Parnell, a native of North Carolina, moved to the Southport area in late 1999. She founded Perceptions Eye Health and Wellness in 2005 with the vision of establishing an eye care practice where patients receive personalized care focusing on the individualized needs of her patients.

Her areas of expertise/interest include:

  • Clinical Director for Perceptions Centers of Excellence, including dry eye center, macular degeneration center and wellness center.
  • Ocular Disease Management, including Diabetes, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, and Dry Eye.
  • Preventive Medicine, including nutrition, food allergies, hormones, adrenal fatigue, as they relate to the visual system.

Professional affiliations:

  • American Optometric Association
  • NC State Optometric Society
  • NC State Optometric Society Southeastern District

Dr. Parnell enjoys spending her leisure time participating in many outdoor activities including paddle boarding, boating and enjoying our area beaches. She enjoys all types of exercising from hiking and skiing to kickboxing.

Additionally, she spends her free time with her son, Tanner, who is five years old.

Community involvement:

  • Lions Club
  • Communities in Schools
  • Waves for Kids
  • Attends Trinity United Methodist Church

You can get an eye exam anywhere, but at Perceptions, you will get an eyecare experience, customized prescriptions and treatment care plans designed to enhance your sight and your style. But most importantly you will learn how to prevent blinding eye diseases and maintain healthy vision for a lifetime.

  • It's important to give back to the community in which we live and work, which is why we are involved in a number of local outreach and charity initiatives. 
  • We are proud of our Doctors' achievements. Read more about their associations and awards.