To assess whether axial length and refraction are risk factors for retinal vein occlusion, we measured these parameters in 88 consecutive patients with unilateral branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), in 58 consecutive patients with unilateral central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and in 50 patients selected as a control group. Patients and controls were free or affected by systemic or local predisposing factors. We compared eyes with CRVO with control eyes, eyes with BRVO with control eyes, and eyes with CRVO with eyes with BRVO. Comparing CRVO eyes and controls, none of the investigated variables was shown to be significant. From the analysis of BRVO eyes versus controls, it resulted that refraction was the only variable which played the role of an independent prognostic factor. When comparing BRVO eyes with CRVO eyes, we found that age was slightly related to the development of BRVO. In conclusion, faulty refraction appeared to be a risk factor for the development of BRVO. We did not find any influence of axial length on the occlusion of retinal veins.