Monocular deprivation (MD) for a few days during a critical period of development leads to loss of cortical responses to stimulation of the deprived eye. Despite the profound effects of MD on cortical function, optical imaging of intrinsic signals and single-unit recordings revealed that deprived eye responses and orientation selectivity recovered a few hours after restoration of normal binocular vision. Moreover, recovery of deprived eye responses was not dependent upon mRNA translation, but required cortical activity. Interestingly, this fast recovery and protein synthesis independence was restricted to the hemisphere contralateral to the previously deprived eye. Collectively, these results implicate a relatively simple mechanistic process in the reactivation of a latent set of connections following restoration of binocular vision and provide new insight into how recovery of cortical function can rapidly occur in response to changes in sensory experience.