PASCO, WA - Most kids live day-to-day without a care in the world. But that hasn't always been the case for 5-year-old Aliyah Arambul.
Two years ago, she lost vision in her left eye after playing with an exercise band that snapped. Her left iris filled with blood and the Arambul's eye doctor sent them to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland to see a specialist.
Shortly after, a cataract started forming. Aliyah's vision became cloudier each day, forcing her into surgery.
"We had to put everything aside for her and for her treatment," Aliyah's mother, Jessie Arambul said.
Aliyah then started putting in eye drops six times a day, and patched her good eye for hours at a time so her brain could eventually reconnect with her injured one.
During that time, scar tissue started forming behind her lens, and doctors removed it after two more surgeries.
"Patching wise it was hard. We'd go out in public and people would make comments, or they'd stare-- they'd make jokes. They were always well meaning. They'd call her a pirate and stuff but she really didn't like it and so she'd come home crying and not want to wear it anymore," Jessie said.
The process of commuting back and forth to Portland took two years and four months. But finally, a few weeks ago, she officially became patch free.
There's no more looking back for the Arambul family.
"It's definitely brought us closer together. We have three girls. We have our oldest daughter who's 19 now and she's been there with her every step of the way too. And my husband and I's relationship has definitely gotten closer," Jessie said.
Her vision is one less thing she'll have to worry about.
So for now, she'll continue doing what she loves the most-- seeing her best friends at school and coming home to play with her American Girl dolls.
Jessie encourages taking your child to the optometrist on a regular basis for check ups and taking all eye issues seriously. If they had not acted as soon as they did, Aliyah could have lost her eye sight permanently. If your child is currently struggling with a major eye issue, Jessie also recommends the Facebook group made of parents called, "For Little Eyes."