Review: BZ Optics PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD Lens

A woman's profile showcases a pair of sunglasses
The PHO Bifocal Photochromic HD bifocal cycling sunglasses in action
Leave your reading glasses at home when you ride with these prescription cycling glasses, says Susan Keywood, who took them for a spin

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.

A pair of cycling sunglasses with black half frames and orangey/brown lenses

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 prescription 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

A pair of cycling sunglasses with clear plastic half frame and clear lenses

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

GB Viz Vigo Bifocal Sunglasses £79.95

A pair of cycling sunglasses with blue and black full frames and blue lenses

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

First published in Cycle magazine, October/November 2022 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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Tech spec

Price: £119.99.
Weight: 25g (frame only).
Correction: +1.50, +2.00, +2.50.
Frame colour: white with red, white with blue, graphite, matt black, pink, yellow.
Available from: BZ Optics.

Pros & cons

+ Convenient
+ Comfortable
- Less good for hiking and so on