Raman spectroscopy assisted tear analysis: A label free, optical approach for noninvasive disease diagnostics

Exp Eye Res. 2024 Jun:243:109913. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2024.109913. Epub 2024 Apr 26.


In recent times, tear fluid analysis has garnered considerable attention in the field of biomarker-based diagnostics due to its noninvasive sample collection method. Tears encompass a reservoir of biomarkers that assist in diagnosing not only ocular disorders but also a diverse list of systemic diseases. This highlights the necessity for sensitive and dependable screening methods to employ tear fluid as a potential noninvasive diagnostic specimen in clinical environments. Considerable research has been conducted to investigate the potential of Raman spectroscopy-based investigations for tear analysis in various diagnostic applications. Raman Spectroscopy (RS) is a highly sensitive and label free spectroscopic technique which aids in investigating the molecular structure of samples by evaluating the vibrational frequencies of molecular bonds. Due to the distinct chemical compositions of different samples, it is possible to obtain a sample-specific spectral fingerprint. The distinctive spectral fingerprints obtained from Raman spectroscopy enable researchers to identify specific compounds or functional groups present in a sample, aiding in diverse biomedical applications. Its sensitivity to changes in molecular structure or environment provides invaluable insights into subtle alterations associated with various diseases. Thus, Raman Spectroscopy has the potential to assist in diagnosis and treatment as well as prognostic evaluation. Raman spectroscopy possesses several advantages, such as the non-destructive examination of samples, remarkable sensitivity to structural variations, minimal prerequisites for sample preparation, negligible interference from water, and the aptness for real-time investigation of tear samples. The purpose of this review is to highlight the potential of Raman spectroscopic technique in facilitating the clinical diagnosis of various ophthalmic and systemic disorders through non-invasive tear analysis. Additionally, the review delves into the advancements made in Raman spectroscopy with regards to paper-based sensing substrates and tear analysis methods integrated into contact lenses. Furthermore, the review also addresses the obstacles and future possibilities associated with implementing Raman spectroscopy as a routine diagnostic tool based on tear analysis in clinical settings.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Contact lens; Non-invasive diagnostics; Raman spectroscopy; Tear analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman* / methods
  • Tears* / chemistry