Regular screening of all people with diabetes is the most efficient and cost-effective way to detect early stages of diabetic retinopathy so that laser treatment can be performed at the optimal time. A major aim of the Program for the Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy was to increase compliance with guidelines for screening for diabetic retinopathy. This community-based screening program used non-mydriatic retinal photography and was initiated in four areas of Victoria, Australia from 1996-1998. Recruitment strategies included targeted mail-outs, provision of the program brochure in English and the main languages spoken in the areas and media promotion in ethnic newspapers and on ethnic radio stations. In Victoria, only 55% of the population with diabetes currently access eye care services at the recommended intervals. This program was able to increase compliance with guidelines to 70% among people with diabetes that had not had a recent eye examination. A total of 1,197 people with diabetes were screened for diabetic retinopathy. Of the 1,197 people who were screened, 620 (15% of the estimated number of people with diabetes) had not had their eyes examined in the past two years. This pilot study identified strategies to encourage people with diabetes to have their eyes examined at the recommended intervals.