Light scattering from a dielectric cylindrical structure on a surface by a plane wave with field vector along the cylinder axis is calculated with a modification of the coupled-dipole method. The interaction matrix is calculated with the use of both the direct contribution of a polarization current filament and its reflection from the surface. The reflected cylindrical waves are computed with the use of the Sommerfeld-type integral expression. Light scattering from structures of arbitrary cross section and the size of the order of a wavelength can be quickly determined with this method. © 1990 Optical Society of America.