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Robert C. Kersten


Chief of the Division of Ocular Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery
Oculofacial plastic surgeon

Dr. Robert C. Kersten, chief of ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery for UCSF ophthalmology, is a specialist in oculoplastic surgery, procedures to treat the area around the eyes. He evaluates and treats problems of the eyelids, orbits (the bony cavities containing the eyeballs) and tear ducts. He cares for adults and children with congenital and acquired disorders of the soft tissues and bones around the eyes. He also performs cosmetic eyelid and upper facial rejuvenation.

Kersten earned his medical degree at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he also completed a residency in ophthalmology and a fellowship in ophthalmic plastic, orbital and reconstructive surgery. He was a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati before joining UCSF in 2009.

Kersten is widely considered one of the preeminent international authorities on ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has authored more than 200 published pieces on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and cosmetic problems in the eye area. He also served for several years as editor of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's textbook on surgery for the eyelids, orbits and tear-duct system.

Kersten has lectured internationally in more than 30 countries and speaks frequently in North America. He has been recognized by his peers as one of America's Best Doctors for more than 20 years, and he recently received the American Academy of Ophthalmology's prestigious lifetime achievement award.

Kersten takes an annual leave of absence from UCSF in order to perform surgeries and teach ophthalmologists in the developing world. He also enjoys skiing and cycling in his free time.

  • Education

    University of Iowa School of Medicine, 1978

  • Residencies

    University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Ophthalmology, 1983

  • Fellowships

    University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 1984

  • Board Certifications

    Ophthalmology, American Board of Ophthalmology

  • Academic Title


It is a tremendous privilege to care for patients working alongside outstanding colleagues and trainees at UCSF. I wake up feeling grateful every day.

Where I see patients (1)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    330 Ratings
    Explained things in a way that was easy to understand
    328 Ratings
    Did the doctor pay attention to your concerns
    327 Ratings
    Gave easy to understand instructions about taking care of health problems or concerns
    298 Ratings
    Knew the important information about your medical history
    325 Ratings
    The provider showed respect for what you had to say
    327 Ratings
    The provider spent enough time with me
    328 Ratings