Most BRVOs occur at an arteriovenous crossing—an intersection between a retinal artery and vein. These vessels share a common sheath (connective tissue), so when the artery loses flexibility, as with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), the vein is compressed.
The narrowed vein experiences turbulent blood flow that promotes clotting, leading to a blockage or occlusion. This obstruction blocks blood drainage and may lead to fluid leakage in the center of vision (macular edema) and ischemia—poor perfusion (flow) in the blood vessels supplying the macula.
The common risk factors for BRVO are:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure
Being overweight or obese (increased body mass index)
Cardiovascular (heart) disease