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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major burden on healthcare services worldwide, where scientific and clinical innovation is needed to provide better understanding of biochemical damage to improve both pre-hospital assessment and intensive care monitoring. Here, we present an unconventional concept of using Raman spectroscopy to measure the biochemical response to the retina in an ex-vivo murine model of TBI. Through comparison to spectra from the brain and retina following injury, we elicit subtle spectral changes through the use of multivariate analysis, linked to a decrease in cardiolipin and indicating metabolic disruption. The ability to classify injury severity via spectra of the retina is demonstrated for severe TBI (82.0 %), moderate TBI (75.1 %) and sham groups (69.4 %). By showing that optical spectroscopy can be used to explore the eye as the window to the brain, we lay the groundwork for further exploitation of Raman spectroscopy for indirect, non-invasive assessment of brain chemistry.
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