An interferometer for measuring dynamic properties of the in vivo tear film on the human cornea has been developed. The system is a near-infrared instantaneous phase-shifting Twyman-Green interferometer. The laser source is a 785 nm solid-state laser, and the system has been carefully designed and calibrated to ensure that the system operates at eye-safe levels. Measurements are made over a 6 mm diameter on the cornea. Successive frames of interferometric height measurements are combined to produce movies showing both the quantitative and qualitative changes in the topography of the tear film surface and structure. To date, measurement periods of up to 120 s at 28.6 frames per second have been obtained. Several human subjects have been examined using this system, demonstrating a surface height resolution of 25 nm and spatial resolution of . Examples of features that have been observed in these preliminary studies of the tear film include postblink disruption, evolution, and stabilization of the tear film; tear film artifacts generated by blinking; tear film evaporation and breakup; and the propagation of foreign objects in the tear film. This paper discusses the interferometer design and presents results from in vivo measurements.