Disabling it selectively would be fine.
However, I do need to respond to your "my eyes are distracted but maybe our eyes just need to get used to it." If the eyes do not like it, then what is the point of wasting time simply to train your eyes to ignore it? (Because that's what my eyes are naturally doing -- basically learning to ignore that 'first column' of data and looking for thread titles elsewhere.)
If people are routinely needing to train themselves to ignore the clutter, then it's not much of a feature.
It's rather like saying, "Well, we'll give you another week of getting hit on the head by a hammer, eventually you won't even notice!"