Photoreceptors of the retina adapt to ambient light in a manner that allows them to detect changes in illumination over an enormous range of intensities. We have discovered a novel form of adaptation in mouse rods that persists long after the light has been extinguished and the rod's circulating dark current has returned. Electrophysiological recordings from individual rods showed that the time that a bright flash response remained in saturation was significantly shorter if the rod had been previously exposed to bright light. This persistent adaptation did not decrease the rate of rise of the response and therefore cannot be attributed to a decrease in the gain of transduction. Instead, this adaptation was accompanied by a marked speeding of the recovery of the response, suggesting that the step that rate-limits recovery had been accelerated. Experiments on knockout rods in which the identity of the rate-limiting step is known suggest that this adaptive acceleration results from a speeding of G protein/effector deactivation.