Review: BZ Optics PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD Lens

Pros: convenient and comfortable. Cons: less good for hiking etc
A woman's profile showcases a pair of sunglasses
A woman's profile showcases a pair of sunglasses
Susan's picture

Review: BZ Optics PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD Lens

Leave your reading glasses at home when you ride

BZ Optics PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD Lens £119.99

Taking both cycling sunglasses and prescription glasses on a ride so you can read things like café menus is a faff. I couldn’t wait to try some cycling glasses that met both needs. I wasn’t disappointed.

I tested two pairs from BZ Optics: the PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD Lens model and the smaller ‘women/junior’ model, designated LJM. I preferred the slightly roomier unisex pair. The LJM glasses felt tight, although my head is small, so they’re perhaps more suited to teenagers. Sizing apart, the glasses are the same. They’re bifocals with light-adjusting photochromic lenses and with magnification for reading moulded into the bottom of those lenses. Mine were +2.50 dioptre; +1.50 and +2.00 are also available.

The wraparound lens is beneficial for two reasons: the viewing window is wider; and it protects from wind, flying insects and debris. The glasses are lightweight (frame only: 25g) and a comfortable fit, with or without an open-faced helmet. The ear temples and nose piece are non-slip. The latter is adjustable and the lenses pop-out easily to replace. At an extra cost (£10), the case is well designed and sturdy.

The photochromic lens, which also has UV protection, is effective for all light intensities. There’s no irritation of sudden darkness or blindness when moving into deep shade or bright sunshine. As I wear sunglasses for most of the year, I appreciated this feature.

My normal prescriptions lenses differ for each eye, with a slightly lower correction than those I tried But I experienced no negative impact on my sight. I could read the café menu, my bike computer screen, my map, and my phone, and I could see fine for roadside repairs.

These glasses are doing two jobs so there are some limitations. The reader part is small, so your head needs tilting back and forth to use, and as sunglasses you need to get used to noticing the line dividing the lens. I wore them once walking a coastal path. On unfamiliar terrain, where you need to look down to ensure safe footing, the magnification disturbed my vision, and I was constantly taking them off. When cycling you’re looking further ahead, and the minimal inconveniences these bifocals bring will not put me off continuing to wear them.


Good quality light-adjusting cycling sunglasses that double as reading/ close-up glasses. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and enable you to leave your prescription glasses at home if you’re long-sighted.

Other options

Voltxsafety Ultimate Safety Bifocals £16.99

Basic UV-protected bifocals without photochromic lenses at a very affordable price. 

GB Viz Vigo Bifocal Sunglasses £79.95

Sports sunglasses with UV-protection, fog vents, and up to +3.0 magnification in the reader section of the lenses.

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