A screening program for diabetic eye disease was established in Iceland in 1980. Diabetics involved in the screening program have a low prevalence of blindness, 1% in type 1 and 1.6% in type 2. We examined ways to make the screening program more efficient by identifying subgroups at low risk of developing eye disease that require treatment and therefore need less frequent screening. We studied whether diabetic eye disease screening programs may be trimmed by excluding children and examining diabetics without retinopathy biannually. Our results indicate that diabetic children under the age of 12 years do not need regular screening for eye disease. Biannual examinations seem to suffice in type 1 and 2 diabetic patients without retinopathy. However, in a setting where the eye clinic is located apart from the diabetes clinics, biannual examinations present practical problems which could result in a less effective screening for diabetic eye disease.